U.S. Deaths Top 150,000; Records in Texas, Florida: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 150,000, the highest official toll in the world and another grim milestone in a pandemic that’s still raging in many states. Texas, Florida and California reported record daily fatalities.
Eye protection may be recommended to prevent the spread of Covid-19, said Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert. Texas Republican Representative Louis Gohmert, who is frequently seen walking the halls of the Capitol without a mask, tested positive.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned of the most severe economic downturn “in our lifetime” as officials left interest rates near zero and vowed to use all their tools to support a recovery amid the pandemic.
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Texas Has Record Daily Deaths; Cases Top 400,000 (5:18 p.m. NY)
Texas recorded 313 new deaths from Covid-19, its worst one-day toll since the start of the pandemic. That pushed the cumulative fatalities to 6,190, according to state health department figures.
The total virus caseload rose by 9,042, or 2.3%, to top 400,000.
Maryland Issues Travel Advisory for Hard-Hit States (4:30 p.m. NY)
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is issuing a public health order advising against traveling to a swath of southern states with spiking Covid-19 cases.
The voluntary advisory urges against travel to and from states with test positivity rates of 10% and higher. It includes Texas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina, as well as Idaho and Nebraska.
“If you absolutely must travel to one of these locations you are strongly advised to immediately get tested for Covid-19 and self-quarantine while awaiting test results,” Hogan, a Republican, said during a press conference Wednesday.
U.S. Cases Rise 1.9% (3:55 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.9% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 4.39 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was higher the average 1.6% daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose 1.1% to 149,961.
- Florida reported 451,423 cases, up 2.1% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 2.6% in the previous seven days. Deaths rose by a record 216, to a total 6,333.
- Arizona reported a 1.4% increase in cases, or 2,339 new diagnoses, to bring the total to 168,273. The rise held below the 1.6% seven-day average. The state also reported 46 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 3,454.
- Illinois reported 1,393 new virus cases, up from 1,076 a day earlier and its seven-day rolling test positivity rate has been climbing in recent weeks to 3.8%.
- Montana experienced a 8.4% increase in cases, bringing the total to 3,665, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
Illinois Limits Recreational Sports (3:20 p.m NY)
Illinois will put limits on youth and adult recreational sports activities starting on Aug. 15 to curb the spread of Covid-19, Governor J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday.
The plan groups various sports into lower, medium or higher risk based on proximity and the amount of contact during play, according to an emailed statement from the governor’s office.
The plan temporarily halts competitive play for most higher to medium-risk sports “pending further health progress,” according to the statement. The state is starting to see Covid-19 metrics climb again.
Texas Opening Field Hospital in Border Hot Spot (3:09 p.m. NY)
Texas is establishing a field hospital at the McAllen Convention Center along the U.S.-Mexico border to ease the strain on local medical facilities, Governor Greg Abbott said in a tweet.
McAllen and other Rio Grande Valley towns have become the Lone Star state’s latest Covid-19 hot spot, even as pressure begins to ease on hospital systems in big cities such as Houston.
The 250-bed field hospital is expected to open by the end of the week, according to a statement on the governor’s website.
N.J. Needs to ‘Hit Pause’ on Reopening (2:50 p.m. NY)
New Jersey’s jump in new Covid-19 cases is strong enough to justify slowing the state’s reopening by keeping indoor dining and gyms closed, Governor Phil Murphy said.
In four days, New Jersey has recorded more than 2,000 new cases of the virus, the governor said during a press conference in Trenton. That includes 489 in the past 24 hours.
“This is the reason we’ve had to hit pause on the restart of indoor activities like dining and health clubs,” Murphy said.
Fauci: Eye Protection May Be Recommended (2:36 p.m. NY)
Eye protection may be recommended as part of the effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, told ABC News.
“If you have goggles or a face shield you should use it to protect as many mucosal surfaces as possible,” Fauci said in interview carried on Instagram. “It’s not universally recommended, but if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can.”
California Reports Record Deaths; Cases Slow (2:35 p.m. NY)
California reported a record 197 new virus deaths, exceeding the 14-day average of 109 and bringing its total to 8,715. Still, there were signs the pace of infections is slowing. The number of new cases rose 8,755, or 1.9%, less than the two-week average daily gain of 9,253. The rate of positive tests over the past 14 days inched down to 7.4% after five straight days at 7.5%.
Golf’s U.S. Open to Take Place Without Fans (2 p.m. NY)
The U.S. Open Championship golf tournament will take place Sept. 14-20 without spectators at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday. Rigorous protocols for testing, cleaning and use of masks and social distancing will be put in place to protect players and staff.
“Following months of consultation and scenario planning with local and state health officials, we have jointly decided that hosting the U.S. Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved,” Mike Davis, chief executive officer of the United States Golf Association, said in a statement.
The USGA announced on April 6 that the 120th U.S. Open, which was scheduled to be held June 18-21 on Winged Foot’s West Course, had been postponed to September, and it announced in June that the championship would be conducted without traditional qualifying.
NBA Says No Players Tested Positive (12:45 p.m. NY)
The National Basketball Association said Wednesday that Covid-19 tests conducted on 344 players returned no confirmed positive results. Tests were carried out on the NBA campus after results were last announced on July 20. The NBA season is slated to resume on Thursday.
Arizona Infection Rate Jumps (11:55 a.m. NY)
Arizona reported a 1.4% increase in cases Wednesday, or 2,339 new diagnoses, to bring the total to 168,273. The rise held below the 1.6% seven-day average. The state also reported 46 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 3,454.
The positivity rate in Arizona jumped to 22.3%, an increase from 16.7% on Tuesday. In Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, the positivity rate was 23.7%, higher than the 17.2% of positive tests reported the previous day.
Gambian President Isolates After VP Tests Positive (10:50 a.m. NY)
Gambian President Adama Barrow started to self-isolate Wednesday for two weeks after his deputy contracted the coronavirus.
Vice President Isatou Touray, 65, tested positive for Covid-19, the presidency said in a Twitter post. A presidential spokeswoman couldn’t say if Barrow, 55, had been tested for the virus, when reached by phone in the capital, Banjul.
The West African country, which shut its air borders since March 23, reported 246 cases, including eight deaths as of Tuesday.
Florida Posts Record 216 Deaths (10:30 a.m. NY)
Florida reported a record 216 new Covid-19 deaths among residents Wednesday, bringing the cumulative total to 6,333. Hospitalizations rose by 582 to a cumulative 25,499, according to the health department report, which includes data through Tuesday. Florida reported 451,423 Covid-19 cases, up 2.1% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 2.6% in the previous seven days.
Anti-Mask Lawmaker Tests Positive: Politico (10:20 a.m. NY)
Representative Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican who has refused to wear a mask, has tested positive for the coronavirus, Politico reported. Gohmert tested positive in a screening at the White House ahead of a scheduled flight to Texas with President Donald Trump, Politico said, citing multiple people it didn’t identify. Gohmert told CNN last month that he wasn’t wearing a mask because he was being regularly tested, Politico said.
Minorities’ High Risk of Virus to Be Studied in U.K. (9:11 a.m. NY)
Research into the reasons behind the high risk of severe Covid-19 cases among Blacks, Asians and other ethnic minorities will be funded with more than 2 million pounds ($2.6 million) from the U.K. government.
Iran to Allow University Exams, Mourning Rituals (8:55 a.m. NY)
Iran plans to allow annual university entrance exams and mass religious mourning ceremonies to take place this summer even as the coronavirus kills record numbers of people and cases continue to surge. President Hassan Rouhani said ritual public mourning processions, due at the end of August during the Shia holy month of Muharram, will go ahead “while implementing complete health protocols,” according to Iranian state media.
Glaxo Cautious on Vaccination Rate Recovery (8:22 a.m. NY)
GlaxoSmithKline said its 2020 earnings forecast is at risk if routine vaccination rates fail to recover after lockdowns. Its vaccines unit was hit especially hard as the crisis hindered visits to health workers. Glaxo said its forecast depends on rates returning in the U.S.
Israel to Drop Quarantine for Citizens Flying From ‘Green’ Areas (7:22 a.m. NY)
The Health Ministry is planning to allow Israeli citizens returning from “green” countries to enter without being required to take a coronavirus test and enter quarantine, Itamar Grotto, deputy director general of the ministry, said in a Knesset committee meeting.
Flooded Hotspot in Texas Cuts Power to Some For a Week (7 a.m. NY)
New coronavirus guidelines for line crews and flooding are complicating restoration efforts after Hurricane Hanna came ashore Saturday and knocked out power to more than 300,000 homes and businesses at a virus hot spot in South Texas. Some of the 7,600 customers currently without power in the Rio Grande Valley may not have service restored until Sunday, American Electric Power Co. said Tuesday. About 85,000 customers of Magic Valley Electric Cooperative Inc. lost power, and the company expects most of them will be back up by late Wednesday.
EU, Gilead Reach Deal on Supply of Antiviral Drug Remdesivir (6:41 a.m. NY)
The European Union reached an agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc. for supplies of the company’s antiviral drug remdesivir to combat the coronavirus. The European Commission signed a 63 million-euro ($74 million) contract with Gilead for batches of Veklury -- the brand name for remdesivir -- to be made available to EU countries and the U.K. starting in early August.
Russia May Register World’s First Covid-19 Vaccine by Aug. 10 (6:21 a.m. NY)
Russia plans to register a coronavirus vaccine as soon as Aug. 10 to Aug. 12, clearing the way for what its backers say would be the world’s first official approval of an inoculation against the epidemic. The drug developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund may be approved for civilian use within three to seven days of registration by regulators, according to a person familiar with the process, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
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