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Coronavirus 2020 Outbreak: Latest Updates

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This article was updated on July 6, 2020, at 5:15 p.m. ET.

The United States leads the world in cases of COVID-19. We'll provide the latest updates on coronavirus cases, government response, impacts to our daily life, and more.

What is the latest news?

U.S. Could Have 700,000 Infections a Day Counting Undiagnosed Cases

July 6, 5:10 p.m.

Coronavirus cases are undercounted in the United States and there may actually be 700,000 new inflections a day, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said Monday.

During an interview on CNBC's Squawk Box, Gottlieb discussed how many actual coronavirus cases exist in the United States, a number that health experts extrapolate by multiplying the number of cases confirmed by testing.

“The CDC says we're diagnosing 1 in 10 now,” he said. “We're probably more like 1 in 12 now because these states are getting pressed and we're falling behind.”

Gottlieb predicted the U.S. will hit 60,000 cases this week “for certain.” That figure multiplied by 12 would be closer to 700,000, which is about how many cases were being diagnosed during the early peak of the pandemic, he said.

“I'd say there's about 700,000 infections a day occurring,” he said. “Now, 20% to 40% of them are asymptomatic, but that's probably what we should be thinking about. We should multiply by 12.”

The number of tests being requested is putting a strain on manufacturers, he said.

“What's surprising is how quickly the supply chain got pressed in states like Georgia and Florida and our inability to move supplies into those states,” he said. “Those states right now don't have enough testing. There's delays of 3 to 5 days when you talk to doctors on the ground.”

Several Southern states may hit their peaks in coronavirus cases this month, he said.

As of Monday, the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus counter showed the United States had more than 2.8 million cases and more than 122,000 deaths. Several states, such as Texas and Florida, have been reporting new records in daily confirmed cases.

Gottlieb served as FDA commissioner from 2017 to April 2019.

Collins, Fauci Predict Victory; Say Vaccine Will Be 'Finite'

Two of the nation's leading medical experts fighting COVID-19 said Monday they are confident science will triumph over the pandemic.

“We are going to vanquish this guy,” said Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in a video call shown on NIH social media with Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“In a few years, we'll have parties when we talk about, 'What did you do in 2020?'” Collins said. “We have the courage, the strength, the vision and the energy to make it happen, and the hope.”

Fauci was just as adamant.

“It will end -- we will get through this for absolutely certain,” Fauci told viewers exhausted by soaring infection rates and the ongoing struggle to support the economy while keeping people safe.

“We will get a vaccine; we will get therapies for early disease and late disease,” Fauci said. “Hang in there. It we end. We promise you.”

They urged Americans to wear masks, frequently wash hands, and maintain social distancing – “all of those simple and straightforward things that I know you're a little tired of,” as Collins said.

Work on vaccines continues, although it's unknown how long a dose could last, Fauci said.

“It will be finite. We may need a boost to continue the protection, but right now we don't know how long it lasts.”

A vaccine could be ready for phase III safety and efficacy testing at the end of July. Other vaccines will be ready in August, September, and October, and Fauci says he hopes results will be available around the start of 2021 to show whether the vaccines work safely.

In the meantime, authorities will order the drugs be produced so they're on hand in case one or more does work.

A trial will involve 30,000 people, with half receiving the vaccine, Fauci said. The trials will be conducted at “multiple sites” in the United States and in other countries.

Americans hit hardest by COVID-19 -- including African American, Latino, and older people -- will be recruited for the trials, he said.

Florida Cases Surge, Miami Mayor Considers Options

July 6, 12:10 p.m.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Florida surpassed 200,000 on Sunday after the state reported more than 10,000 new daily cases, according to The Tampa Bay Times. The total represents about 1 in every 112 people.

The state added more than 40,000 cases to its tally in 4 days, which now marks the third-highest count in the U.S. after New York and California. On Monday, the Florida Department of Health reported 6,336 more cases, according to WESH, an NBC affiliate in Orlando.

City officials across the state have stepped up precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 by closing beaches, requiring masks, and encouraging physical distancing. Miami imposed a curfew before the July 4 weekend, and Mayor Francis Suarez is considering other options, including another stay-at-home order.

“That's an option that I haven't taken off the table,” he said Monday on CBS This Morning.

New cases are at record-high numbers and hospitalizations are up, he said. Miami is the densest city in the state, he added, which could require unique considerations.

“It's an incredibly delicate balance,” he said, saying that lockdown orders were effective. Before the stay-at-home order, the area increased by 35 cases per day, which declined to 14 cases per day. Now the city is increasing by about 90 cases per day.

Suarez plans to review the data with Florida Department of Health officials this week. Although Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he won't pause the reopening of Florida, city leaders may decide to make other decisions. 

“We're making what we think are the best decisions for our residents,” Suarez said. “For me, this is about saving lives and making decisions that are for the benefit of my residents.”

Miami has also implemented a mandatory face covering rule. A statewide order could help, Suarez added, similar to wearing a seat belt.

“When you wear a seat belt, it's a precautionary measure,” he said. “You're not guaranteed to live when there's a car accident, but you have a much, much higher chance.”

Texas Leaders Discuss Strained Hospitals, Surge in Cases

July 5, 4:05 p.m.

Three Texas officials talked on Sunday morning talk shows about a surge of coronavirus cases in the state, strained hospitals, and stay-at-home orders if the numbers don't improve.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said he wants Gov. Gregg Abbott to allow local governments to decide whether other measures -- such as lockdown orders -- should be taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the burden on hospitals.

“If we don't change the trajectory, then I am within 2 weeks of having our hospitals overrun, and in our ICUs, I could be 10 days away from that,” Adler said on CNN's State of the Union.

Texas reported 8,258 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, marking the highest daily increase so far, according The Associated Press.

Abbott issued a mandate Thursday that requires people to wear face coverings in public in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases. Those who don't follow the order can be fined up to $250, according his executive order.

A new shelter-in-place order could be necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus, said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who issued Houston's initial lockdown order in March and more recent orders about face coverings and limited group gatherings.

“I'm sure a mask order will make some difference, and I'm grateful that that's happened. That said, as long as we're doing as little as possible and hoping for the best, we're always going to be chasing this thing,” she said on ABC's This Week.

Hospitals in Houston and 33 other cities in Texas are crossing into “surge capacity,” she said, adding that a stay-at-home order is “what works.”

“We don't have room for incrementalism when we're seeing these kinds of numbers, nor should we wait for all the hospital beds to fill and all these people to die before we take drastic action,” she said.

The hardest-hit cities also need help with testing and hospital staffing, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. During the last month, the proportion of positive tests in the city has shifted from 1 in 10 to 1 in 4, and the number of people in ICUs has increased.

“If we don't get our hands around this virus quickly, in about 2 weeks, our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble,” he said on CBS' Face the Nation.

Navajo Nation Locks Down for the Weekend as Cases Spike Around It

The Navajo Nation is trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus by locking down for the Fourth of July weekend and the next 2 weekends, with the New Mexico National Guard and the Navajo Police Department setting up checkpoints to enforce the lockdown. 

Navajo Nation President Joseph Nez said weekend lockdowns were extended because of an alarming spike in cases in other parts of Arizona, not just on the Navajo Nation itself. Most of the Native American territory is in the northeast corner of the state.

"All around the Navajo Nation, you have seen increases, big spikes in COVID-19, and if you don't believe me ... turn on the news right now and you'll see that a lot of attention is on Phoenix, Arizona," Nez during an online town hall, according to AZCentral.com. "All these states have opened back up prematurely, and they see a rise in COVID-positive cases.

"Please don't leave the Navajo Nation, I plead with you, ladies and gentlemen," he said. "We can get through this by working together."

The Navajo Nation -- 175,000 people spread across northeast Arizona, southeast Utah, and northwest New Mexico -- has reason to worry. It's been a coronavirus hot spot for months.

Back in early June, the Native American territory reported around 6,000 coronavirus cases and an infection rate of 3.4% -- the highest in the country. New York state, by comparison, had a 1.9% infection rate.

The spread of the virus has slowed a little. As of Friday, the Nation had reported 7,733 cases and 375 deaths, according to a news release posted on Twitter. That's more deaths than reported in Kansas, Nebraska, and several other states. And the Nation reported four more deaths and 64 new cases Friday.

Fifty-seven-hour lockdowns are also planned for the next 2 weekends, from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. Lockdowns have been held on previous weekends.

“Our numbers would be much higher without the weekend lockdowns and the mask requirement -- we have the data to support it,” Nez said in the news release. “We are following the advice of the Nation's health care experts, and it has led to a flattening of the curve.”

“The majority of our Navajo people are doing a good job staying home, wearing masks, social distancing, and washing their hands often, and it is resulting in the downward trend in new cases, but the fight is not over,” Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said in a separate news release.

Because of an extreme drought, fireworks, trash burning, campfires, and other activities are prohibited.

“During the Fourth of July weekend, please stay home with your loved ones, and please do not use fireworks,” Lizer said. “Keep fighting COVID-19, and keep our homelands safe from fires.”  

Nez told WebMD in June that the social structure of Navajo families, in which it's common for several generations to live in the same residence, makes it difficult to practice social distancing. Extended families often gather in large groups, he said.

The high poverty rate also makes sanitation difficult. One expert estimated that a third of the Navajo population lacks running water and electricity.

COVID-19 Restrictions Vary for July 4 Weekend

As Americans head into the July 4 weekend, some state and local leaders have imposed curfews, closed businesses, and required face masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus, while others have reopened beaches and lifted restrictions.

For the 35 states with a recent surge in cases, the July 4 weekend feels like a “crossroads,” according to The Washington Post. The U.S. recorded a record 55,220 new cases Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, following Wednesday's record of 52,789 cases.

“Your actions will determine whether our businesses across the state can stay open,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday. “And your actions will determine, frankly, whether we can open schools in the fall.”

For a large part of California, bars and indoor dining aren't options this weekend after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced restrictions for 19 of its 58 counties. California public health officials also warned against group celebrations during the holiday weekend.

“Traditionally, Fourth of July is a time of gathering to celebrate the freedoms this country offers us. This year, however, family gatherings are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19,” according to a statement Thursday from the California Department of Public Health.

Florida reported a record high of more than 10,000 new cases Thursday, the Miami Herald reported. Several beaches along the Atlantic in South Florida are closed for the weekend, and Miami-Dade County has a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew that starts Friday.

“The curfew is meant to stop people from venturing out and hanging out with friends in groups, which has shown to be spreading the virus rapidly,” Mayor Carlos Gimenez wrote in a statement.

Georgia also reported a record high of more than 3,400 new cases Thursday. Gov. Brian Kemp launched a statewide “Wear A Mask” tour and said college football would be a “tall task” this fall if the case numbers continued to increase, according The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster shared similar sentiments.

“Let me make it very clear,” he wrote in a Twitter post Wednesday. “Wear a mask and social distance now so we can enjoy high school and college football in South Carolina this fall.”

In other parts of the country, restrictions are easing. Casinos in New Jersey's Atlantic City reopened Thursday morning with a festive flair, according to The New York Times, and beachgoers headed to the New York shores for the weekend. Pools across the state reopened as well, though at 50% capacity.

“This virus does not take a holiday, and so I urge New Yorkers who are visiting swimming pools to follow all the social distancing guidelines,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an announcement Thursday. “The bottom line is be vigilant and stay safe while enjoying some time outside.”

Texas Governor Reverses Course, Mandates Face Masks Statewide

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order Thursday requiring people to wear facial coverings in public places in counties with 20 or more coronavirus cases.

Abbott had previously encouraged face masks but resisted calls to issue a statewide order, saying such an action would be unfair to rural counties that have reported few cases.

But coronavirus cases have spiked in recent weeks, putting a stress on medical facilities and the economy. On Wednesday, the state reported 8,076 new cases, a state record for a 24-hour period, CNN reported.

“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a statement. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another -- and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces.”

The order signed Thursday also gives local officials the power to restrict outdoor gatherings with more than 10 people. The proclamation also says people cannot gather in groups larger than 10 and must practice social distancing.

CNN said the order will affect about two-thirds of the state's counties.

The surge in cases has caused Abbott to make other changes in his aggressive schedule to reopen the state economy.

Last week, he suspended elective surgeries in four hard-hit counties and paused the economic reopening of the state. He said he regretted allowing bars to open so soon because they had proven to be a major cause of community spread.

Texas has reported more than 168,000 coronavirus cases and more than 2,400 deaths.

Former GOP Candidate Cain Hospitalized With the Coronavirus

Herman Cain, a businessman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, tested positive for the coronavirus and is being treated in an Atlanta-area hospital, Cain's staff said in a statement posted Thursday on Twitter.

The statement said Cain, 74, learned Monday that he'd tested positive and on Wednesday “had developed symptoms serious enough that he required hospitalization.” He was admitted to the hospital Wednesday and is resting comfortably, the statement said. He's not on a respirator.

“There is no way of knowing for sure how or where Mr. Cain contracted the coronavirus, but we do know he is a fighter who has beaten Stage 4 cancer,” the statement said. “With God's help, we are confident he will make a quick and complete recovery.”

Cain recently attended President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa and was pictured in a tweet from the event.

According to Fox News, Cain “successfully steered food chains like Burger King and Godfather's Pizza to profitability” before running for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2012.

His campaign was derailed by allegations of sexual misconduct while he served as CEO of the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s. He denied the accusations but dropped out of the race.

Cain used to be the host of a political talk show on Atlanta radio station WSB, according to WSB-TV. He is currently the host of The Herman Cain Show at HermainCain.com and Herman Cain's American on NewsmaxTV, WSB said.

Georgia Dog Tests Positive for the Coronavirus

A dog in Georgia tested positive for coronavirus after it had been euthanized, state health officials announced in a news release.

The 6-year-old mixed-breed dog had been put down after a neurological illness that advanced rapidly over several days, the Georgia Department of Public Health said.

The dog owners had been recently diagnosed with COVID-19, so a coronavirus test was done on the dog “out of an abundance of caution,” the news release said. The dog had not shown any respiratory problems.

The presumptive positive result was confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory. The neurological illness was not caused by the coronavirus, the news release said.

Results are pending on a second dog in the household that was tested, the department said. That dog showed no symptoms.

This is thought to be the second case in which the coronavirus was found in a dog. A German shepherd in New York state tested positive, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a June 2 news release. That dog was expected to recover.

The CDC said that a tiger at a New York zoo was the first animal in the U.S. to test positive for the coronavirus. Other big cats at the zoo that had been exposed to a zoo employee who had the coronavirus also tested positive. The cats recovered.

The virus has also been found in mink on farms in the Netherlands, the CDC said. Cats on those mink farms had developed antibodies, indicating they'd earlier had the virus.

Despite these cases, the CDC says animals don't appear to play a major role in the spread of the coronavirus.

If you own pets and have the coronavirus, you should take precautions, said the Georgia Department of Public Health. If possible, somebody else in the household should care for the pets while you're sick. Avoid physical contact with the pet. If you do have to care for the pet, wear a cloth face mask and wash your hands after each interaction with the pet.

Pennsylvania Orders Mandatory Masks in Public

Face masks are now mandatory in public spaces in Pennsylvania to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday. The new order takes effect immediately.

“This mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania,” he said in a statement. “Those hot spots can be traced to situations where Pennsylvanians were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.”

Face coverings should be worn if people are outdoors and unable to stay 6 feet away from others who aren't in their household, according to the order, as well as indoor public spaces, public transportation, ride-sharing services, pharmacies, doctor's offices, veterinary clinics, and blood banks. Workers who interact with people publicly, such as food service, should also wear masks.

The order includes exemptions for those who can't wear a mask due to a medical condition, including respiratory issues, mental health conditions, and disabilities. Children under age 2 also don't have to wear a mask.

“While cases increase in some areas, we cannot become complacent,” Rachel Levine, MD, the state's secretary of health who signed the order, said in a statement. “My mask protects you, and your mask protects me. Wearing a mask shows that you care about others and that you are committed to protecting the lives of those around you.”

Oregon and Kansas also announced mandatory face mask requirements this week, according to NPR. They joined the growing list of states with mask mandates, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington. Several cities in hot spot states such as Arizona and Florida now require masks as well.

Public health officials have increasingly called for people to wear face masks, especially after a surge in coronavirus cases in the South and West.

“When you do not wear your face covering, we end up in a situation where you see higher rates of disease spread and you end up having to close places,” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Tuesday during a press briefing.

“This mask, this face covering, actually is an instrument of freedom for Americans if we all use it,” he said.

U.S. Reports Single-Day Record of 50,000 COVID-19 Cases

July 2, 12:18 p.m.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the U.S. reported 50,000 COVID-19 cases in about 2 months. Now it's happened in a single day.

More than 50,200 new coronavirus cases were reported across the country Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, marking a new record for 1 day. The previous record was 45,255 new cases on June 26.

Five states reported record single-day highs on Wednesday as well: Arizona, California, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, according to U.S. News and World Report.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that 19 counties would close bars, indoor dining, and other places with group gatherings, such as museums, zoos, wineries, family entertainment centers, and movie theaters. The restrictions will last for 3 weeks.

“The bottom line is the spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning,” he said during a briefing.

Colorado, Delaware, and Texas have ordered bar closures as well.

“Bars -- really not good, really not good,” Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Senate hearing Tuesday.

“Congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news,” he said. “We really have got to stop that.”

As of Thursday morning, the U.S. has reported more than 2.68 million cases and more than 128,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins data.

Public health officials are now concerned about the July 4 weekend, which could create “the perfect storm” for a spike in coronavirus cases, according to CNN. On Thursday morning, Newsom reminded Californians to take precautions this weekend.

“REMINDER: #COVID19 does not take the summer off,” he wrote on Twitter. “Does not take the weekend off. And will not take 4th of July off.”

How many people have been diagnosed with the virus, and how many have died?

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 11.4 million cases and more than 535,000 deaths worldwide. More than 6.2 million people have recovered.

How many cases of COVID-19 are in the United States?

There are more than 2.8 million cases in the U.S. of COVID-19, and more than 130,000 deaths. More than 906,000  Americans have recovered from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. See a map of cases and deaths by state here

What travel restrictions are there?

The State Department has urged all U.S. citizens to avoid any international travel due to the global impact of the new coronavirus.

If you are currently overseas, the department wants you to come home, “unless [you] are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period,” according to a statement.

“Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice,” the agency says.

In addition, the State Department says it will not issue any new passports except for people with a “qualified life-or-death emergency and who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours.” The U.S. is banning all foreign travel to the United States from most of Europe for 30 days beginning midnight Friday, March 13.  American citizens are not included in the ban. 

The U.S. has also temporarily suspended nonessential travel to Mexico and Canada.

 Carolyn Crist and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on July 04, 2020



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