The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 69,917 new cases and 1,291 new deaths – the tenth time in eleven days of over 1,000 deaths 
  • Arizona, Mississippi and Florida each recorded a record one-day increase in COVID-19 deaths
  • House members are complying with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s mask mandate. During Thursday night’s votes, republicans all appeared to be wearing masks, although a couple members, including Rep. Jim Jordan, have worn them incorrectly, under their noses.
  • FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said there is no evidence that people can contract Covid-19 from wearing masks, after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested as much.
  • President Trump took the extraordinary step Thursday morning of openly suggesting in a tweet the possibility that the 2020 election, set for November 3 should be delayed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” Trump tweeted. 

NOTE: There is little risk of voter fraud using mail-in ballots. 

  • “Never in the history of the Congress, through wars, depressions and the Civil War have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time and we’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3rd,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said shutting down President Trump’s suggestion to delay the election.
  • Federal Elections Commission Commissioner Ellen Weintraub flatly stated that the executive branch does not have the power to delay a presidential election after President Trump stirred an uproar by raising the idea on Twitter.

“States and localities are asking you and Congress for funds so they can properly run the safe and secure elections all Americans want,” she added. “Why don’t you work on that?”

  • President Trump says he wants the next coronavirus relief package to be “very generous” with direct stimulus payments to Americans that are potentially more than $1,200.

Trump said his priorities for this next relief measure are those payments and an eviction moratorium. He said Congress can take care of other issues “later,” acknowledging that Republicans and Democrats are “so far apart” on other major issues.

  • President Trump said he supports a “temporary extension of unemployment benefits.” 
  • President Trump said shutting down the economy “to achieve a temporary reduction in cases is certainly not a viable long-term strategy for any country” as coronavirus continues to spread across the country.

“The scientific path forward is to protect those at highest risk while allowing those at lower risk to carefully return to work and to school with appropriate precautions.”

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters he is “not very optimistic that we will have any kind of an agreement on a comprehensive bill in the near future.”

Asked to clarify, he replied, “I’m not even optimistic about next week.”

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested it is impossible to know whether the US is nearing the end of the pandemic or still in the early stages, and that the outcome depends very much on Americans’ behavior going forward.

“It’s impossible to predict because when we were looking at the increase and then going down, if it had gone all the way down to baseline… then you could say ‘if we hold tight, we may be in the 7th or 8th inning,’ but that didn’t happen.”

  • Fauci said “we should try as best as we possibly can to get the children back to school.”

“Because we know the consequences on the children when they’re kept out of school, as well as the downstream deleterious, unintended consequences on families, of parents who have to get off work to take care of their kids.”

  • Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said, there is “no evidence” that hydroxychloroquine works for treating Covid-19.
  • Birx called on state and local officials “to mandate masks for their communities” to slow the spread of Covid-19.
  • Trump and Fauci encouraged plasma donations from people who have recovered from coronavirus.
  • Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s multi-billion effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, will fund eight vaccines. 
  • Just two weeks of social distancing policies cut the spread of coronavirus by 65% globally, preventing more than 1.5 million new cases, Texas researchers estimated.
  • The University System of Maryland  is making Covid-19 testing mandatory for all on-campus students and employees.

Anyone returning has to be tested within 14 days prior to arriving and will need to provide university officials with confirmation of a negative test result.

  • The backlog on coronavirus testing “shouldn’t be acceptable” Adm. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services said. 
  • Bill Gates said other nations had better coronavirus responses than the U.S. 

“If you score the U.S., our domestic response has been weak. It can improve,” he said. “Our (research and development) response — funding vaccines and therapeutics — has been the best in the world.”

Ramping up testing has been slow, Gates said. “The US is now starting, you know, to say hey, the testing turnaround can’t be long like this.”

  • The University of Washington now projects there will be 230,822 U.S. deaths from Covid-19 by November – raising their projection from July 22 by 11,000 additional deaths.
  • Because of limited capacity at AT&T Stadium, the Dallas Cowboys announced season tickets will be unavailable for the 2020 season. Season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase a limited number of single-game tickets for a limited number of games.
  • The NFL’s Buffalo Bills have sent their rookies home from the team’s facility following five positive Covid-19 tests in the last week. 
  • Nineteen players and coaches for the Miami Marlins tested positive for coronavirus.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies announced that no players on the team tested positive, but two staff members did, a coach and a clubhouse worker. All activities at Citizens Bank Park, where the team plays, have been cancelled until further notice. 
  • Toronto Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo confirmed this weekend’s series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays has been postponed.
  • The Southeastern Conference announced teams will on;y play conference games in the fall. 
  • The Advocare Classic, one of college football’s marquee opening weekend games that Alabama vs USC were to play in, has been cancelled. 
  • Vermont had its first Covid-19-related death in 43 days. 
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said the state has seen infection rates double among 10 to 19 year olds.
  • Virginia Beach’s schools will start remotely in September. The plan includes guidelines for when students can begin returning to school for in-person classes and will also allow families to choose to continue with remote learning even when the district decides it is safe enough for in-person classes.
  • Washington, DC, announced that public school students will have virtual learning for the year’s first term.
  • Georgia reported 4,045 new cases and 30 new deaths. 87% of the state’s ICU beds are in use. 
  • Florida reported 9,956 new cases and 253 deaths – the third consecutive day of record high fatalities.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) advocated for parents to be able to choose either in-person or distance learning as districts in the state weigh their options for the upcoming school year.
  • Wayne County (MI) announced that at least five people who attended a wedding reception at a banquet hall in Southgate now have COVID-19. 

Between 100-125 guests attended the indoor reception in violation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order, which limits gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said his state could be headed to a “reversal” in the state’s reopening plan if the positive cases of coronavirus continue to climb.
  • Louisiana reported 1,769 new cases and 69 new deaths.
  • Louisiana has the highest number of Covid-19 cases per capita in the nation. 
  • Missouri reported a record 2,084 daily Covid-19 cases and 13 new deaths.
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) encouraged in-person learning, and added that in order to request online-only learning, schools must have a positivity rate of at least 15% in their county. 

Reynolds said 93 of Iowa’s 99 counties meet the less than 10% positivity threshold that the Centers for Disease Control recommends. 

  • Iowa teachers are sending mock obituaries to Reynolds in hopes she will reconsider her school plans for the fall. Teachers are demanding Reynolds declare a statewide school mask mandate.
  • Texas reported 8,800 new cases and 84 new deaths. The state now has a higher case count than New York.
  • Fort Worth, Texas schools moved the beginning of its school year back by three weeks and will begin the school year with the first four weeks being all-digital.
  • Arizona reported 2,525 new cases and 172 new deaths.
  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) said, “We are headed in the right direction.” There has been a downward trend in Covid-19 cases since early July, Ducey said.
  • California reported 10,197 new cases and 194 deaths. 
  • A coronavirus outbreak has been confirmed at four Costco locations in the Bay Area.

A total of 31 cases have been confirmed within the past two weeks at four Costco stores in Gilroy, Mountain View, San Jose, and Sunnyvale.

  • A San Diego gym that was shut down after operating in defiance of the county’s health order to close last week has experienced an outbreak of coronavirus.
  • Hawaii reported 124 new cases, a record high number for the second day in a row. It marks the state’s fifth record day in the past week.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 6 Minutes

  • The U.S. has passed the grim milestone of 150,000 coronavirus related deaths. 
  • The U.S. recorded 66,211 new cases and 1,418 additional deaths. 
  • California, Florida and North Carolina set new records for daily coronavirus deaths Wednesday.
  • The U.S. needs to reset its response at the federal, state and local levels to get control of the Covid-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security said in a new report. 

“Unlike many countries in the world, the United States is not currently on course to get control of this epidemic,” the report says. “It is time to reset.”

  • With current Covid-19 testing results delayed, Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said the federal government needs to step in and distribute faster antigen tests to power through the backlog of testing and get ahead of outbreaks.

If health officials can’t quickly determine who has the virus and where it is, they can’t prevent the spread, Jha wrote in an op-ed.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci warned of a coronavirus resurgence moving into Midwestern states. 

In Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, an increase in the percentage of positive coronavirus tests signaled a resurgence. “We’re starting to see that in some of the states now, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and other states,” Fauci said. .

The White House coronavirus task force warned the governors that they need to get out ahead of the curve.

  • Vice President Mike Pence met with some of the doctors who were featured in a video which was shared by President Trump and was later removed from social media for misinformation.

The video claimed that masks aren’t necessary and promoted hydroxychloroquine as a cure. Both claims are contradicted by scientific studies. The most prominent person featured in the video, Stella Immanuel – who has said in the past that DNA from space aliens is being used in medicine – did not meet with Pence.

The group is backed by Tea Party Patriots. 

  • President Trump defended his retweet of a video containing false claims about the coronavirus pandemic, saying that he was “very impressed” with one of the doctors in the video due to her statements about hydroxychloroquine, despite a report revealing she has made controversial claims about aliens, reptilians running the government and demon sex.

“I think she made sense, but I know nothing about it,” Trump said. “With hydroxy, all I want to do is save lives. All I want to do is save lives.”

  • Dr. Fauci dismissed a viral video that President Trump retweeted that makes false claims about the coronavirus and features a doctor who has raised concerns about alien DNA and sex with demons: “When there’s a video out there from a bunch of people spouting something that isn’t true, the only recourse you have is to be very, very clear in presenting the scientific data that essentially contradicts that.”
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said both the White House and Republicans were “very far apart” from Democrats on negotiations over the next coronavirus relief package.
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who frequently refused to wear a mask, tested positive for COVID-19. Gohmert declared he had probably gotten the “Wuhan virus” because he had started wearing a mask — not despite it.
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced all members and staff will be required to wear face coverings in the House.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges chief scientific officer Dr. Ross McKinney Jr. said the U.S. could see deaths skyrocket “well into the multiple hundreds of thousands” if there is not a course correction.
  • School closures due to the pandemic were associated with a significant decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

States that closed schools earlier, when incidences of Covid-19 was lowest, saw the greatest declines per week, compared to states that were slowest to close schools and had the highest incidences.

  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos argued against the need for national leadership on reopening schools.

“You know, there’s not a national superintendent nor should there be, therefore there’s not a national plan for reopening.” 

  • The House passed two bills aimed at easing the financial burden for child care amid the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Georgetown University will begin the fall semester completely online. Earlier this month the university had planned on welcoming back about 2,000 undergraduate students to campus.
  • The shuttering of Rutgers football workouts due to six recent positive cases among players has been tied to athletes from various Rutgers sports programs, including the football team, gathering for a recent on-campus party.
  • The Atlantic Coast Conference announced that its football season will begin play during the week of Sept. 7.. ACC teams — plus partial league member Notre Dame — will play 11 games, including 10 ACC contests and one non-conference game against an opponent that resides in the home state of league members.
  • Penn State University announced that eight student-athletes tested as part of the school’s return to campus protocol have tested positive for Covid-19.
  • The outbreak on the Miami Marlins may be tied to, according to USA Today baseball insider Bob Nightengale, “at least” one Marlins player, possibly more, leaving the team hotel and going out while in Atlanta, days before the season began.
  • The US Open Championship will be held without fans at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, on Sept. 14 to 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
  • The NBA and players’ union announced that none of the 344 players tested since July 20 tested positive.
  • The NBA has unveiled a new community testing program, which will provide thousands of no-cost Covid-19 tests in Orlando and in team markets nationwide.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said her state “cannot move forward to phase four” due to the spread of coronavirus from parties. She said contacting tracing shows “we’re partying too much, social gatherings are too large.”
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said, “all the news on numbers and our status is all very good.” The state conducted 62,276 tests Tuesday with an infection rate of 1.1%. There were 5five deaths. 
  • There are 619 New Yorkers hospitalized, the lowest number since March 15.
  • Vice President Mike Pence visited an Apex, NC private school that Pence said was “in the forefront of reopening schools in America.”

North Carolina public schools are set to reopen on Aug. 17, with most students in remote learning.

Pence said,“if we’re going to open up America, we’ve got to open up schools.”

  • North Carolina reported 1,763 new cases and a single day record for deaths of 45. 
  • The North Carolina State Fair has been canceled.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced,starting Monday, face masks must be worn in all state government offices and buildings.
  • For the second day in a row, Florida set another new record for Covid-19 deaths. The state reported 216 deaths and 9,446 new cases of Covid-19.

At least 54 hospitals have reached ICU capacity. Another 44 hospitals have 10% or less ICU capacity available. About 16% ICU beds are available for the entire state.

  • Florida will shutter all its state-run coronavirus testing sites from Friday to Monday due to the storm system Isaias, which is expected to become a tropical storm.
  • With cases in Indiana on the rise, the Indianapolis Public Schools administration is recommending that the upcoming school year begin with 100% remote learning for all students when school starts on August 17.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) encouraged school districts to return to in-class instruction.
  • Minnesota has 310 people who are currently hospitalized due to Covid-19, nearly half in the ICU. 
  • Oklahoma reported 848 new cases and 14 new deaths.
  • Texas reported 9,042 new cases. Texas has now surpassed New York in total coronavirus cases. 
  • Denver Public Schools will “extend 100% remote instruction” from the start of the school year until the end of the first quarter.
  • Arizona’s top emergency preparedness director, Wendy Smith-Reeve, quit in protest of the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “I could no longer support the direction that the governor [Doug Ducey (R)] was going in.”
  • California added 8,755 new cases and broke the state single-day record for deaths with  197 fatalities. Though higher than desired, the positivity rate remained steady at 7.4% over the past 14 days.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 6 Minutes

  • The U.S. recorded 55,134 new cases and 1,059 additional deaths. 
  • After weeks of sharp increases, there are some signs that new coronavirus cases in the United States may be plateauing at a high daily rate.

Though still alarmingly high, the seven-day daily average of new confirmed cases was just under 66,000 – the lowest it has been in the U.S. in 10 days.

  • The global coronavirus death toll surpassed 650,000.
  • A developmental vaccine created by drugmaker Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases began phase three trials.

About 30,000 adult volunteers will receive two 100 microgram injections of the candidate vaccine while a control group receives a placebo, both about four weeks apart.

  • The FDA announced, “Based on continued review of scientific data, FDA has determined that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are unlikely to be effective in treating #COVID19 and therefore we are revoking the emergency use authorization for these drugs.” 
  • Vice President Mike Pence assured that any coronavirus vaccine that makes it to market will be safe. “There’ll be no shortcuts,” Pence said. “There’ll be no cutting corners on safety in the development of this vaccine.”
  • The Senate Republican proposal will cut enhanced federal unemployment benefits from the current $600 to $200. 
  • President Trump’s attempts to project more somber messaging on the COVID-19 pandemic were motivated in part by data showing death rates rising in states critical to his reelection chances, the Washington Post reported

“In the past couple of weeks, senior advisors began presenting Trump with maps and data showing spikes in coronavirus cases among ‘our people’ in Republican states,” a senior administration official said. “They also shared projections predicting that virus surges could soon hit politically important states in the Midwest — including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.”

  • President Trump said he hasn’t seen National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who has tested positive for COVID-19, recently.
  • As members of his administration encourage some states to reverse their reopenings, President Trump said that governors need to loosen restrictions.

“I really do believe a lot of the governors should be opening up states that they’re not opening,” Trump said, without specifying which states should be opening.

  • During President Trump’s tour of a Fujifilm vaccine lab facility in North Carolina, he wore a mask, which is required at the facility.
  • White House Advisor Larry Kudlow wore a mask while talking to reporters. Asked why he finally decided to wear one, the 72 year old said seeing reporters wearing masks influenced his decision. He is now encouraging masks as a way to help the economy recover.
  • In a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, 79 percent of respondents said they support a national face mask mandate amid skyrocketing coronavirus cases in parts of the United States that have the nation going in the wrong direction compared to many other countries.

Another 70 percent said they supported the idea of local governments imposing fees on individuals who do not wear masks.

  • George Washington University in Washington, DC, announced that undergraduate courses will be given online for the fall 2020 semester.
  • The University of Notre Dame announced Monday it will withdraw from hosting the first presidential debate in September due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The debate, scheduled for Sept. 29, will now take place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

  • Staples will require all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of their US stores.
  • Four more players on MLB’s Miami Marlins tested positive, bringing the total to fifteen infections for players and staff. 
  • After an outbreak of the coronavirus among Miami Marlins players and staff who occupied the visitor’s locker room in Philadelphia over the weekend, Monday night’s game schedule there between the Phillies and Yankees was postponed.
  • Following Monday’s postponement of two games due to Covid-19 threat, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred did not discuss canceling the season with the league’s team owners.
  • The Minnesota Vikings announced that along with head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman tested positive for COVID-19 four players were place on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
  • Daryl Ross, an Alabama pastor, said that more than 40 people who attended a revival event at his church have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days.
  • The NCAA will allow schools to reduce their fall sports schedules, other than football, to half of a season. 
  • Monmouth University in New Jersey is cancelling all fall sports due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will cancel all fall sports.
  • The NHL announced that of the 4,256 COVID tests administered to players from July 18th-25th, there were zero positive tests.
  • New York reported 608 new cases and 11 deaths.
  • New York state issued 132 violations to bars and restaurants for not following coronavirus-related regulations over the weekend. 
  • New Jersey reported 446 new cases and17 new confirmed deaths. The rate of transmission jumped back above the key benchmark of 1, meaning the outbreak is increasing again.
  • New Jersey has started deploying saliva-based coronavirus tests developed at Rutgers University to the state’s broad testing initiatives, allowing the state to increase its testing capacity by 30,000 a day with results within 48 hours, Gov. Phil Murphy announced.
  • The owners of the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ were arrested and subsequently released on Monday morning after they opened their facility despite a judge ruling that the state could force the gym to close. 
  • Police spent nearly five hours breaking up a mansion party in Jackson Township that grew to over 700 people Sunday night. Three people have been charged with violating the governor’s executive order limiting gatherings.
  • Pennsylvania reported 839 new cases and 4 new deaths.
  • South Carolina reported 1,226 new cases and 17 new deaths.
  • After being ordered to mediation last week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R)  has withdrawn an emergency lawsuit hearing against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) and City Council over conflicting mask mandates.
  • Florida reported 8,892 new cases of and 77 new deaths.
  • In a letter, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber (D) called out Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for the “unprepared” and “failed” contact tracing response to Covid-19 which led to the “unconstrained growth of the virus” in Miami-Dade County.
  • Just weeks before schools must open across Florida, the numbers of new cases among children 17 and under are surging.

From July 16 to July 24, cases among children increased 8,000 – a 34% increase.

  • Coronavirus hospitalizations among children in Florida rose by more than 20 percent over a period of eight days in July.

Florida health authorities released data showing that 303 children below the age of 18 were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of July 24.

  • At least 17 anesthesiologist residents and a fellow at University of Florida Health, one of the premier university hospital systems in Florida, contracted COVID-19 earlier this month after attending a private party together.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced additional steps to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including closing bars and limiting indoor restaurant capacity to 25%
  • In a joint press conference, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said that Tennessee could see rapid and widespread growth of coronavirus unless the state acts quickly to turn things around. She recommended shutting down bars and limiting indoor dining.
  • Shortly after Birx spoke, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) shot down White House adviser Deborah Birx’s recommendation to close bars and limit indoor seating at restaurants. 
  • Oklahoma reported 1,401 new cases and zero new deaths.
  • At least 123 visitors to Nevada have tested positive for the coronavirus in the weeks following their trip and returning home. 
  • California reported 6,891 new cases and 29 additional deaths.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 5 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 75,193 new cases and 1,178 new deaths. An 8.09% test positivity rate. 
  • There were a record 284,196 new cases reported to the WHO. 9,753 additional Covid-19 deaths occurred worldwide. 
  • Covid-19 can be a prolonged illness, even among young adults without underlying chronic medical conditions, the CDC reported.

Of those surveyed, 35% said they still weren’t back to normal two to three weeks after testing positive.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said he quickly reviewed the CDC’s new guidelines on reopening schools and found them to be “a sound set of guidelines.” 

Fauci also said that it’s not a good idea to force all teachers to come back and teach in person. “So, I think when you talk about forcing teachers to come back to school, you better be careful about that and make sure you pay attention to keeping them safe, and keeping them healthy.”

As many people as possible should get vaccinated for influenza this year, as Covid-19 will complicate flu season according to Fauci.

Fauci said a Covid-19 vaccine likely won’t be “widely available” to people in the U.S. until “several months” into next year.

Another nationwide lockdown is not necessary, Fauci said. To avoid the need for one, he said that there are fundamental things that can be done by everybody – wearing a mask, avoiding crowded places, continuing to practice social distancing, closing bars and practicing good hand hygiene.

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) criticized President Trump in a new interview with The Hill, accusing him of not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously enough in its early days and calling the administration’s national testing strategy a “big failure.”
  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that newly enrolled international students won’t be allowed to enter the United States if their classes are offered online only.
  • McDonald’s will require customers to wear face masks at all of its more than 14,000 U.S.  restaurants. The policy takes effect on Aug. 1.
  • Chipotle announced they will require customers to wear masks or other face coverings.
  • Universal Studios announced it has canceled this year’s Halloween Horror Nights at its Orlando and Hollywood theme parks. 
  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, the private school in the Maryland suburbs attended by Barron Trump, said it was considering either a hybrid part-time plan or going back to entirely online classes.
  • The entire Michigan State University football team has been placed under a 14-day quarantine after a second staff member and student-athlete tested positive. 
  • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced a mask mandate starting Aug. 1 for both indoor and outdoor activities where social distancing is not possible.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced the state will require residents returning from out of state as well as other travelers to the Pilgrim State to quarantine for 14 days unless they can provide a negative test result for Covid-19. 
  • New York reported 650 hospitalizations – its lowest number of hospitalizations since March 18. There were nine fatalities.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) said eighty-four bars and restaurants face fines of up to $10,000 per incident for violating Covid-19 rules following compliance checks executed from July 21-23.
  • A New Jersey gym that publicly challenged statewide shutdown restrictions faces fines after being found in contempt of court Friday.

On Monday, Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy declined to find Atilis Gym of Bellmawr in contempt, but warned the owners to follow health department guidelines. The state attorney general’s office returned to court Thursday with new evidence the gym was violating the governor’s orders, and this time the judge agreed.

Gym owner Ian Smith said they will do “whatever we possibly can” to fight the decision. The gym’s doors were removed to prevent officials from padlocking them closed, and Smith said he and others would remain in the gym all day, every day.

“We will not leave this building under any circumstances unless they take us out in handcuffs.”

The gym owners also face criminal charges for remaining open during the pandemic.

  • Officials on Long Beach Island say 24 lifeguards have tested positive for the coronavirus after being together at a recent event.
  • Georgia reported 4,813 new cases – the highest number of new cases reported in a 24-hour period by the department since the pandemic began. There were 82 new deaths.
  • Florida reported 12,329 new cases and 135 additional deaths.
  • On July 4, Florida reported 5,022 Covid-19 hospitalized patients.Today, that number stands at 9,215 – an increase of 84.5%. 
  • Regarding schools opening as scheduled, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) said, “I don’t know how much improvement we can make within two to four weeks, to be honest with you, and I don’t think it looks good for day one opening right now.”
  • Suarez  is urging residents to wear masks or face coverings while in their own homes to help stop the spread of COVID-19 within families. He said transmission between family members is currently the most common way for the virus to spread.
  • At least 19 people contracted Covid-19 after attending the Pickaway County Fair in Ohio, the county’s public health agency said.
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said the state is working to decrease the positivity rate from 8% currently to 5% as recommended by the CDC for reopening schools. 

“We’ve got a lot of work to do over the next 30 days.”

Hutchinson said that schools should be prepared to go back to online learning during the school year if needed.

  • Texas also reported 8,701 new cases and 196 new deaths, the second highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in a single day.
  • Harris Country, Texas is requiring all public and non-religious private schools in the county to remain closed to in-person instruction until at least Sept. 8.
  • Starr County, Texas, has issued a shelter-at-home order for residents of the county, effective until 11:59 p.m. local time on August 10. 
  • Doctors at Starr County Memorial Hospital in Rio Grande City may decide to send coronavirus patients “home to die by their loved ones” due to limited resources, officials say.
  • The Texas Testicle Festival plans to move forward with its August 1 start date. Claire Ball, an organizer with the event, said the fest was hoping to build on the 150 attendees who showed up in January.
  • Oregon recorded nine new deaths, its highest number since the outbreak began.  396  new cases were reported.
  • Arizona reported 3,349 new cases and 79 new deaths.
  • The US Supreme Court denied a petition from a church in Nevada that argued a policy limiting in-person church attendance to 50 during the coronavirus pandemic violated the Constitution.
  • California reported 9,718 new cases and 159 additional deaths, the highest number of fatalities in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post