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Texas Cases Hit Record; Fauci Gives Grim Warning: Virus Update


By Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease specialist, warned lawmakers that coronavirus cases could rise to 100,000 a day if behaviors don’t change. The European Union extended a travel ban for Americans, deeming the U.S. response to the outbreak insufficient.Weekly deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales fell to their lowest in 12 weeks, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to spend billions of pounds on infrastructure to rebuild the U.K. economy.A strain of flu virus spreading in Chinese pigs has shown it can also infect humans, suggesting that another pathogen with pandemic potential waits in the wings behind Covid-19, according to a team of researchers.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases near 10.4 million; deaths top 508,000
  • How do people catch Covid-19? What experts say: QuickTake
  • Trump’s virus task force boosts call for mask use
  • U.S. states beg, borrow and cut to close massive budget gaps
  • Britons reduce spending and lift savings in virus crunch
  • Reopened Los Angeles sleepwalks into resurgent pandemic

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus.

Trump’s Task Force Boosts Call for Mask Use (6 a.m. HK)

The Trump administration’s coronavirus task force stepped up its calls for Americans to wear masks, but Vice President Mike Pence said there were no plans to override governors who have yet to require them.

“Please, please, please wear a face covering when you go out in public,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams, a member of the task force, said at a White House briefing Tuesday.

Adams delivered the strongest plea to the public yet from an administration that has often sidestepped direct recommendations to wear masks. Health Secretary Alex Azar and Pence both urged wearing a mask at the same event Tuesday in Rockville, Maryland, though Pence only said to do so if local authorities recommended it.

President Donald Trump has mocked his Democratic challenger Joe Biden for wearing a mask and has never publicly worn one, though he is facing calls to do so.

Colorado Suspends Indoor Bar Service (5:55 p.m. NY)

Colorado Governor Jared Polis said the state will order bars and night clubs to suspend indoor service, two weeks after allowing limited capacity. Establishments that serve food and alcohol will be allowed to remain open.

“With neighboring states now closing bars, we don’t want Colorado to become a mecca of night life in the pandemic,” Polis said at a news conference in Denver.

Minor League Baseball Cancels Season (5:40 p.m. NY)

The U.S. minor league baseball season was canceled for the first time in its history, which dates back to 1901.

“While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment,” Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner said in a statement.

Texas Daily Cases Hit Record (5:12 p.m. NY)

Texas posted its worst day yet for new cases, with 6,975 positive tests that pushed to total to 159,986, according to state health department figures. The 4.6% increase exceeded the seven-day average of 4.2%. Hospitalizations also increased by a record, with 620 new admissions, amid increasing warnings that the state’s medical infrastructure is under strain.

Caseload and fatality trends, however, continue to move in opposite directions. The Lone Star state recorded 21 Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, the fifth straight day the death toll has expanded by less than 2%, state data showed. Fatalities peaked at 58 on May 14 and have only topped 50 on one day in the intervening seven weeks.

New York Examines Possible Spread at Church (5 p.m. NY)

New York state health officials are investigating a potential coronavirus pocket stemming from a church service in a small upstate community. The state health department is tracing the contacts of an individual who tested positive for Covid-19 and attended a June 21 religious service at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Ticonderoga, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

The individual contracted the virus in Florida and is now self-isolating, Cuomo said, adding that there have been “no additional known exposures” related to the service. The state is providing testing for anyone who attended the service.

Cuomo also announced that the Capital Region is cleared to begin phase 4 of reopening starting Wednesday. This includes low-risk outdoor and indoor arts and entertainment, media production and in-person higher education services at colleges and universities that have submitted their reopening plans to the state.

U.S. Cases Rise by More Than 48,000 (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased by 48,096 to 2.61 million as compared with the same time yesterday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.9% gain was above the average daily increase of 1.6% over the past week. Deaths rose 0.5% to 126,512.

  • Florida reported 152,434 cases, up 4.2% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5.6% in the previous seven days. Deaths rose 1.7% to 3,505.
  • Arizona reported 4,682 new cases, a 6.3% increase, bringing the total to 79,215. The increase covers a two-day period after the state announced that a reporting issue meant all new cases weren’t counted Monday. The state also reported 44 new deaths, marking a total of 1,632.
  • California reported 6,367 new cases, its second-biggest daily jump, for a total of 222,917, according to state data. The 2.9% increase exceeded the seven-day average of a 2.8% gain. Deaths climbed by 0.7%, or 44, to 5,980.

Florida to Start Reporting Hospitalizations (3:50 p.m. NY)

Florida will start reporting current Covid-19 hospitalizations for the first time in the next few days, potentially adding an important new data set at a time when the state is facing a dramatic resurgence of the virus.

In an emailed response to questions, Florida Department of Health spokesman Alberto Moscoso said the information will be published alongside other publicly-available data on cases.

Florida has been criticized for not publishing the data sooner. Its daily reports include a cumulative total of Covid-19 related hospitalizations, but not the number of coronavirus patients admitted currently in the state’s health-care system.

Biden Rips Trump for Pandemic Response (3:30 p.m. NY)

Joe Biden assailed Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, arguing the president has failed to protect Americans and exacerbated a crisis that other countries have managed to control.

Biden, the Democratic nominee, laid out his plan to fight the virus and safely reopen the economy, and he urged Trump to adopt his proposals. The moment, he said, required the president to lead and move beyond politics.

“Mr. President — the crisis is real — and it’s surging,” Biden said. “Promises and predictions and wishful thinking pulled out of thin air are not only doing this country no good, it’s making them lose more faith in their government.”

Miami-Area Outbreak Worsens (2:27 p.m. NY)

Florida’s Miami-Dade County, the state’s most populous, reported the highest numbers of Covid-19 hospitalizations, intensive-care patients and ventilator use since at least early May.

The county said Tuesday that it has 1,202 people with Covid-19 in hospitals, an increase of 53 from a day earlier. The number of virus patients in intensive-care unit beds rose to 245 from 236, according to a report. There are 103 Covid-19 patients on ventilators, up from 90 a day earlier.

Puerto Rico to Require Tests For Visitors (2:20 p.m. NY)

Travelers arriving in Puerto Rico will be required to show a negative Covid-19 test or submit to a two-week quarantine as the bankrupt U.S. commonwealth tries to kickstart its tourism economy without triggering a surge in coronavirus cases.

Under the executive order announced Tuesday, people flying into Luis Munoz Marin International Airport starting July 15 will be required to show a negative molecular, or Pcr, test that has been taken in the past 72 hours.

Hungary to Exempt U.S. Film Crews From Ban (2:10 p.m. NY)

Hungary will exempt U.S. film crews from a European Union travel ban so they can continue shooting in the eastern European country, Variety reported, citing Film Commissioner Csaba Kael.

A government-granted special exemption will allow Netflix’s “Terra Vision” series to start shooting in July while Legendary’s “Dune,” Amazon’s “The Banker’s Wife,” Sony’s “The Nightingale” and Showtime’s “Halo” will be allowed to resume work, according to Variety. A spokesperson at the National Film Institute confirmed the report.

California Has Second-Biggest Jump (1:55 p.m. NY)

California reported 6,367 new confirmed cases, its second-biggest daily jump, for a total of 222,917, according to state data. The 2.9% increase exceeded the seven-day average of a 2.8% gain. Deaths climbed by 0.7%, or 44, to 5,980.

Hospitalizations from Covid-19 jumped 6.3% to a record 5,077 patients. The number of intensive-care patients also reached a new high, climbing 4.3% to 1,528. The state’s rate of positive tests over the past 14 days inched up to 5.6% from 5.5% the prior day.

Houston Area’s ICU Beds at 97% Capacity (1:34 p.m. NY)

The Houston region’s intensive-care units reached 97% of normal capacity, up from 95% 24 hours earlier, according to the Texas Medical Center. Covid-19 patients occupied 460 ICU beds as of Monday night, a 3.4% increase from Sunday, and virus victims accounted for 35% of all intensive-care cases.

Given the rate of spread, Houston hospitals are on pace to swamp normal ICU
capacity by Thursday night, which would force doctors to begin using so-called
surge capacity, according to the medical center.

As hospitalizations rose in Houston and other metro areas, Governor Greg Abbott indicated he may impose stricter limits just days after he closed taverns and river-rafting outfitters, and clamped down on restaurant-occupancy limits.

“Hopefully, the decisions already made will lead to a reduction in the amount of Covid-19 spreading,” Abbott said in an interview with KXII-TV in Corpus Christi. “About two-thirds of the population of the state of Texas is covered by this face mask requirement. Could there be the need to expand that more? The answer to that could be yes, it just depends.”

Chicago Grants $56 Million For Tracing (12:30 p.m. NY)

Chicago has awarded a $56 million grant to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership for contact tracing in the city, and 85% of the funding will go to community organizations in areas of high economic hardship, according to an announcement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

About 600 contact tracers will be hired for $20 per hour directly from the communities adversely affected by Covid-19, Lightfoot said in a statement.

The program will bolster efforts to curb the disease while creating new jobs and offering training for careers in public health and patient care, she said.

Arizona Virus Cases Rise 6.3% in Two-Day Total (12:25 p.m. NY)

Arizona health authorities reported 4,682 new cases Tuesday, a 6.3% increase, bringing the total number of cases to 79,215. The increase covers a two-day period after the state announced that a reporting issue meant all new cases weren’t counted on Monday.

The state reported 625 new cases Monday, fewer than half of actual cases, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. The state also reported 44 new deaths Tuesday, marking a total of 1,632.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced Monday that the state had imposed a month-long closure of bars, gyms, movie theaters, water parks and tubing rentals. “This will help relieve stress on our health care system and give time for new transmissions to slow,” Ducey said on Twitter.

Cases Hit Record at Florida Long-Term Care Centers (12:15 p.m. NY)

Current Covid-19 cases among Florida long-term care residents jumped to 1,868, the most since the pandemic began.

That’s a one-day increase of 76 from a day earlier, according to a report released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Health. The numbers are up by 293 since Friday, when the state last published them. They include residents of assisted-living centers and nursing homes, who are among the most at risk of dying from the infection.

UAW Asks GM to Shut Down Texas SUV Plant (12:15 p.m. NY)

The United Auto Workers union local in Arlington, Texas, has asked General Motors Co. to temporarily close its large-SUV plant in the city for the safety of its workers as cases of Covid-19 rise rapidly in the state.

Confirmed cases in Texas have been rising by more than 5,000 a day in recent weeks, and the Lone Star State reported 4,288 new cases yesterday.

FDA Issues Vaccine Guidance (11:45 a.m. NY)

The Food and Drug Administration issued guidance on how it would assess vaccine candidates, saying it would only allow ones that are at least 50% more effective than a placebo.

“The American people should know that we have not lost sight of our responsibility to maintain our regulatory independence and ensure that our decisions related to all medical products, including those related to Covid-19 vaccines, are based on sound science and the available data,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told the Senate health committee on Tuesday.

Infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci also told the panel that he’s “aspirationally hopeful” that a vaccine for Covid-19 will be ready in early 2021.

N.Y. Doubles Quarantine Travel Advisory (11:30 a.m. NY)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that travelers from eight additional states, including California, will be required to quarantine for 14 days when traveling to New York.

California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee now meet metrics to qualify for a travel advisory, Cuomo said. There are 16 total states on the travel advisory

The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

Texas Expands Elective Surgery Ban (11:25 a.m. NY)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott expanded a ban on elective surgeries beyond the state’s biggest metro areas to four more regions as the Covid-19 caseload explodes.

The prohibition, intended to conserve hospital capacity for virus patients, now includes the counties that encompass Brownsville, Laredo, Corps Christi and McAllen, according to statement from the governor’s office on Tuesday.

Fauci Concerned About Case Spikes (11:20 a.m. NY)

Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said he’s “quite concerned” about the increase of Covid-19 cases in states including Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.

Some states reopened too early and skipped checkpoints that were part of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Fauci said at a U.S. Senate Health panel hearing Tuesday.

Fauci said he’s seeing two extremes – – either lockdowns or people in bars not wearing masks.

Texas Tavern Owners Sue to Overturn Shutdown Order (11:08 a.m. NY)

About two dozen Texas bar owners filed a lawsuit to overturn Governor Greg Abbott’s order to close as surging Covid-19 caseloads strain the hospital system, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The suit filed in Travis County — home to the capital, Austin — alleges the Republican governor violated the state constitution “and improperly picked winners and losers among state businesses,” the newspaper reported. Jared Woodfill, a former chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, filed the suit.

Florida Cases at Long-Term Facilities Hit Record (10:30 a.m. NY)

Current Covid-19 cases among Florida long-term care residents jumped to 1,868, the highest level since the pandemic began.

The report showed an increase of 293 Covid-19 positive residents since the last report on Friday, according to data released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Health. The centers include assisted-living and nursing homes.

Since the pandemic began, the state has drastically expanded testing at the facilities. But the uptick in the numbers in very recent, and it wasn’t immediately clear how much testing was a factor.

No Distancing at Trump Mount Rushmore Event (9:15 a.m. NY)

People who attend an Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore with President Donald Trump on July 3 won’t be required to practice social distancing, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said.

“We’ll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one,” Noem said in an interview Monday on Fox News, according to a transcript compiled by Bloomberg. “But we won’t be social distancing.”

Trump has opted to not wear a mask during public appearances since the outbreak started, including at a campaign rally this month in Oklahoma.

Europe Extends Block on U.S. Travelers (9:35 a.m. NY)

EU governments deemed the American response to the coronavirus pandemic insufficient to allow its citizens to enter the bloc for non-essential reasons. The decree will be reassessed every two weeks. In the same decision, the EU will lift travel restrictions for Chinese residents as of July 1, on the condition that Beijing confirms that the same applies to EU citizens.



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