U.S. Cases Rise 1.3%; Florida to Speed Up Testing: Virus Update
A coronavirus vaccine the University of Oxford is developing with AstraZeneca Plc showed promising results in early human testing, a sign of progress in the high-stakes pursuit of a shot to defeat the pathogen. China’s CanSino Biologics Inc. and a partnership of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE also reported positive data from vaccine studies.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to close down all bars and restaurants if large street gatherings continue and his social distance and mask regulations aren’t enforced. California reported slowing growth in virus hospitalizations, while Florida said it aims to speed up testing for people with symptoms.
European Union leaders were given a new compromise proposal for a 750 billion-euro ($858 billion) economic recovery fund as negotiations continued through a fourth day.
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Texas Cases Increase at Below-Average Pace (5:34 p.m. NY)
Texas reported 7,404 new coronavirus cases and another 62 deaths -- well below the seven-day averages. But both categories set a record high for Monday numbers, which typically slump after the weekend.
The Texas state budget for 2020 and 2021 will have a $4.58 billion shortfall because of the economic damage from Covid-19, Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Monday. The estimate compares with the $2.89 billion positive balance Hegar expected in October 2019.
The projection didn’t factor in future federal aid, assumed the government would prevent the outbreak from overwhelming hospital systems, and that all pandemic-related restrictions would be lifted by the end of the year.
Fauci to Throw First Pitch at Nationals Game (4:35 p.m. NY)
Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease expert, will throw out the first pitch for the opening day of Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals, a ceremonial practice that has long featured local politicians, celebrities or dignitaries.
“Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the Covid-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title,” the team tweeted.
In the past week members of President Donald Trump’s administration have criticized Fauci, listing what they said were errors made by the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Trump, in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” said that Fauci is a “little bit of an alarmist” but that the two men have a “great relationship.”
California’s Hospitalization Growth Slows (4:22 p.m. NY)
California’s virus hospitalizations increased 16% over the past 14 days, a slowdown from recent weeks, Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday. From late June through early July, hospitalizations jumped 50%.
“We are seeing a reduction in the rate of growth, but a rate of growth nonetheless, which only reinforces the seriousness of this moment,” Newsom said Monday. While Covid-19 patients occupy just 17% of available hospital beds across California, some areas are running short. Newsom pointed out Placer, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, saying the rise in coronavirus cases had strained not just the local hospitals but the doctors and nurses staffing them.
The most-populous U.S. state reported a 1.8% increase in new cases Monday, less than the seven-day average of a 2.7% daily gain. The rate of positive tests was 7.4%, flat from the prior day. The state had nine new deaths, well below the 14-day average of 91, though tallies on Mondays tend to be lower because of delays in reporting.
U.S. Cases Rise 1.3% (4 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 1.3% as compared with the same time Sunday to 3.79 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was below the average daily gain of 1.9% over the past week. Deaths rose 0.2% to 140,716.
- Florida reported 360,394 Covid-19 cases on Monday, up 3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 3.8% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 5,072, an increase of 90, or 1.8%, according to the state Department of Health report, which includes data through Sunday.
- Arizona reported 1,559 new Covid-19 cases, a 1.1% rise to 145,183 that was below the 2.3% increase of the prior seven days. The state Department of Health Services counted 23 new deaths, bringing the statewide toll to 2,784.
- California reported a 1.8% increase in new cases, less than the seven-day average of a 2.7% daily gain, for a total of 391,538. The state added nine new deaths, well below the 14-day average of 91, though tallies on Mondays tend to be lower because of delays in reporting.
- Alaska experienced an 8.6% increase in the number of cases from the same time yesterday, bringing the total to 1,950, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg.
Florida to Speed Testing for Sick People (1:33 p.m. NY)
Florida officials are experimenting with expedited testing of people with Covid-19 symptoms to speed up getting results from labs. It can take a week or more to get the results because so many people who don’t have symptoms are getting tested, said Governor Ron DeSantis.
“Most of the people who are testing now -- and this is fine -- don’t have symptoms,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Orlando. “Some people are just curious. They don’t have symptoms, but they are curious, and that’s fine.”
At one drive-through testing site, at a convention center in Orlando, state health officials recently began offering lines just for symptomatic people, he said. Those tests will be prioritized when sent to diagnostic labs in order to get speedier results. He said the pilot program will likely be expanded to other parts of the state, and in some areas, like Miami, some testing sites may be converted exclusively to testing people with Covid-19 symptoms.
As DeSantis spoke, He was repeatedly interrupted by protesters shouting “You are lying to the public!” A handful of protesters were taken our of the room by police.
Madagascar Hospitals Overwhelmed (1:06 p.m. NY)
Public hospitals in Madagascar said they’ve reached full capacity and will only accept the sickest patients as cases surge in the Indian Ocean island nation. President Andry Rajoelina earlier this month reimposed a lockdown on the country’s central region until July 26 as the five public hospitals in the capital, Antananarivo, announced they could no longer cope with the influx of patients. An initial lockdown in March was lifted after four weeks.
The number of confirmed cases reached 7,153 on Monday, including 62 deaths. Those who don’t get tested and die at home won’t be included in official statistics, the spokeswoman of the country’s Covid-19 Command Center, Hanta Marie Danielle Vololontiana, said last week.
N.J. Plans All-Remote School Option (1:05 p.m. NY)
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the state’s plan for reopening schools will give parents the option to choose an entirely online option if they’re concerned about the coronavirus. Murphy, speaking at a press conference in Trenton, said the state is planning to teach children both at home and in classrooms this fall. He said it will issue guidance to parents about the all-at-home option.
Houston ICU Rate Falls 18% (12:15 p.m. NY)
The number of Covid-19 patients requiring intensive care tumbled 18% to a two-week low of 811 as of Sunday night, according the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council.
The census covered Harris County, which includes Houston, and eight surrounding counties. The tally reached a record 990 on July 18, SETRAC figures showed.
Chicago Tightens Limits on Bars, Restaurants (11:40 a.m. NY)
Chicago plans to tighten some restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and personal services effective Friday amid an uptick in coronavirus cases, the mayor’s office said Monday. Bars, breweries and other establishments that serve alcohol without a retail food license will no longer be able to serve indoors, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in an emailed statement.
Arizona Cases Slow; Infection Rate Rises (11:30 a.m. NY)
Arizona reported 1,559 new Covid-19 cases, a 1.1% rise to 145,183 that was below the 2.3% increase of the prior seven days. The state Department of Health Services counted 23 new deaths, bringing the statewide toll to 2,784.
The state reported a positivity rate of 20.7%, an increase from 16.9% on Sunday. Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, reported a rate of 27.3% compared with 18.6% the day before.
Florida Infection Rate at 14.7% (10:50 a.m. NY)
Florida reported 360,394 Covid-19 cases on Monday, up 3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 3.8% in the previous seven days. Deaths among Florida residents reached 5,072, an increase of 90, or 1.8%, according to the state Department of Health report, which includes data through Sunday.
Cumulative hospitalizations of Florida residents rose by 292, or 1.4%, to 21,263.
The new rate of people testing positive for the first time climbed to 14.7% for Sunday from 11.8% on Saturday. The median age of cases among Florida residents was flat at 41 years.
Cuomo Heading to Georgia to Provide Aid (10:30 a.m. NY)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is headed to Savannah to provide aid and personal protective equipment as the number of coronavirus cases grow in Georgia.
“Our numbers are down low, we have the medical staff, we have the equipment, we have the ventilators, and we have knowledge of how to do this,” Cuomo said at a press briefing on Monday at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The number of positive Covid-19 cases and virus-related deaths remain low in New York. Of the nearly 50,000 tests conducted statewide on July 19, about 1.05% were positive, and there were eight virus-related deaths.
Cuomo said he plans to meet with Savannah Mayor Van R. Johnson to set up testing and tracing programs, discuss building hospital capacity, and to bring thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment. New York also is sending medicine to Florida, and is aiding Houston as well as Atlanta, he said.
Pompeo Gets Quarantine Exemption in Europe (10 a.m. NY)
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had to get some Covid-19 exemptions to undertake his three-day trip to the U.K. and Denmark Monday. For his visit to London, Pompeo and his delegation were allowed to skip the normally mandatory 14-day quarantine still in place in the U.K. In addition, Denmark required that the State Department submit negative virus tests for all passengers and, like the U.K., offered a quarantine exemption in return.
Pompeo’s short trip is reminder that Americans are still largely barred from direct travel to Europe as the Covid-19 pandemic worsens in the U.S. Pompeo, who long resisted wearing a mask in public, was photographed Monday morning entering his plane bound for London with a stars-and-stripes motif mask on.
Cuomo Threatens to Shut N.Y. Bars, Restaurants (10 a.m. NY)
Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to close down all New York bars and restaurants if large street gatherings continue and his social distance and mask regulations aren’t enforced.
While the majority of restaurants and bar owners are complying, “the bad ones who are exploiting the situation and breaking the law are going to make it bad for everyone else,” Cuomo said Monday at a press briefing. News reports over the weekend showed large gatherings in New York City.
“Do your job,” the governor said to local governments and police departments.
New York Covid-19 cases rose 0.1% yesterday, below a seven-day average of 0.2%. While the numbers are good, Cuomo said he’s concerned about young people congregating as well as people traveling into New York from hot spots.
Portugal Sees ‘Downward Trajectory’ (10 a.m. NY)
Portugal reported an increase of 135 new confirmed coronavirus cases, the smallest daily rise in 10 weeks, bringing the total number of cases to 48,771, the government said on Monday. Health Minister Marta Temido said at a press conference that the percentage of infected individuals who died from Covid-19 was 3.5% and the risk of transmission over time is on a “downward trajectory.”
Oxford-Astra Vaccine Shows Dual Immune Action (9:33 a.m. NY)
A coronavirus vaccine the University of Oxford is developing with AstraZeneca Plc showed increased levels of both protective neutralizing antibodies and immune T-cells that target the virus, according to the study organizers. T
he results were published Monday in The Lancet medical journal. The shares of AstraZeneca jumped as much as 10% in London after the report’s release.
Pfizer, BioNTech Vaccine Study Results Out (9:05 a.m. NY)
Pfizer and BioNTech said preliminary data from a phase 1/2 German study indicate their mRNA-based vaccine candidate was able to stimulate antibody as well as T-cell responses at low dose levels. The data is in line with what the companies observed in a U.S. study. Pfizer shares rose 4% in pre-market trading while BioNTech ADRs were up 9.7%.
Shares in Moderna, which is also in the race for a vaccine, slided 7%.
AstraZeneca shares climbed to a record ahead of results of the phase 1 trial of its vaccine developed with the University of Oxford, expected to be published in The Lancet on Monday. Reports last week suggested the results will show positive news.
NYC Phase Four Kicks In (7 a.m. NY)
New York City’s last official step in reopening comes with caveats as the coronavirus ranges out of control in much of the country.
Residents can expect the return of low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment, such as zoos and botanical gardens, at reduced capacity. Professional sports will resume, albeit with one major caveat: no fans. Indoor restaurant dining, gyms, cinemas and theaters will remain shut for the foreseeable future. Museums and shopping malls, which were originally part of Phase Four, won’t reopen until future notice, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday. Here’s what you need to know.
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