Miami-Dade mayor to expand mask requirement to all indoor and outdoor public spaces
From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is expanding the mandatory mask order in the county, according to a statement from his office.
“After consulting with the CEOs of South Florida hospitals and Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew this afternoon, I have decided to issue an emergency order requiring masks in all public spaces inside and outdoors throughout Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said in the statement.
Gimenez said he would sign the order later tonight which will require masks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces.
The current fines for violating an emergency order remain in effect; up to $500 and/or up to 180 days in jail, the mayor said.
6:18 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020
Brazil surpasses 60,000 coronavirus deaths
From CNN's Shasta Darlington and Rodrigo Pedroso
The number of coronavirus deaths in Brazil surpassed 60,000 on Wednesday, according to the country's health ministry.
The ministry reported 1,038 new Covid-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours, bringing Brazil's death toll to 60,632.
Brazil also reported 46,712 newly confirmed cases Wednesday, a large daily increase but still not a record for the country's daily figures. The highest number reported in a 24-hour period for Brazil happened on June 19 when the ministry reported 54,771 new cases.
Brazil has 1,448,753 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Wednesday, the second highest number of cases worldwide.
6:21 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020
Fauci says he predicted 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day to "jolt" people into listening
From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman
The US can turn the resurging coronavirus pandemic around, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said during an interview with NPR Wednesday afternoon.
“It does not have to be 100,000 cases a day,” Fauci told host Mary Louise Kelly.
“I used that number because I wanted to jolt people,” to get their attention, he added.
Some context: Fauci testified before a Senate committee Tuesday that without intervention, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, the US could see as many as 100,000 new Covid-19 cases a day. The country is seeing almost 40,000 new cases a day already.
“If you leave the virus to its own devices, it will take off on you. The control of an outbreak is what we do to oppose the dynamics of the outbreak. And if you do things that essentially enhance the outbreak, then you’re part of the problem. You're not part of the solution,” Fauci said.
Some states, including Florida and Texas, which are seeing record numbers of new Covid-19 cases daily, were some of the first to begin reopening in early May.
“What we saw, and it really varied from state to state, were people congregating in bars, congregating in crowds in a celebratory way, understandably because they felt cooped up, without wearing masks,” Fauci said. “It's a violation of the principles of what we're trying to do and that is the social distancing, the wearing of masks.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he believes the US can reduce the numbers again, back to levels seen in March and April.
“But we have to do things a bit differently,” he said. “When we talk about the goal of everyone to proceed toward normalization by taking steps in the Opening America Again program, which are guidelines that have good and well demarcated benchmarks."
See Fauci's prediction before the Senate:
6:08 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020
US government funds research on patch to catch and monitor coronavirus infections
From CNN's Maggie Fox
The US government said Wednesday it was investing in a project to create a patch that could monitor the symptoms of coronavirus patients and perhaps even catch early signs of infection.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority said it had invested $656,000 in digital medicine company Sonica Health to develop a wearable monitor. “Sonica Health is utilizing a bio-integrated, wearable patch called ADAM. The flexible wireless patch is a thin device about the size of a band-aid and sits at the base of the throat,” BARDA said in a statement.
“The device monitors cough intensity and patterns; chest wall movements which can indicate labored or irregular breathing; other respiratory sounds; heart rate; physical activity; and temperature.”
BARDA said Sonica Health would integrate technology from Northwestern University spinoff Sibel Health to add continuous pulse oximetry and electrocardiography to measure heart activity and blood oxygen levels.
“In conjunction with Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab researchers, the team is creating and implementing a set of symptom-driven algorithms specifically tailored to catch early signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 and to monitor patients throughout illness,” BARDA added.
The goal would be a US Food and Drug Administration approved product, BARDA said.
6:05 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020
Surge of Covid-19 cases leaves Florida hospital system stretched for antiviral drug
From CNN's Marisa Peryer
Miami’s Jackson Health System is running out of a key drug for fighting Covid-19 because of a surge in cases, hospital officials said Wednesday.
The nonprofit hospital group paused elective surgery Wednesday because of the onslaught of cases and Jackson Health System’s head of infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship, Lilian Abbo, said stocks of remdesivir were running low.
“This is one of the few drugs that has shown some efficacy,” Abbo said at a news conference. “And if we run out of this treatment, it could be fatal for people.”
Some context: Remdesivir is the only antiviral that has US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization for coronavirus treatment. An average course of the infused drug requires six vials. The Florida hospital system has enough remdesivir to complete the treatment course for current patients, Abbo said.
“If we get to the point where the cases continue to double every two weeks, like what we’re seeing now, then we need to make sure that we have enough drug allocated,” Abbo said.
Hospital administrators are hoping to get more supplies later in the week, Abbo said.
Abbo urged the public to be proactive in mitigating Covid-19’s spread in Florida.
“The battle against Covid-19 cannot be only fought inside the hospital,” Abbo said. “This battle has to be conquered with every person taking action in the community."
6:03 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020
Texas bar owner plans to hold mask-free July 4 event
From CNN's Jason Kurtz
Gabrielle Ellison plans to keep her Texas bar open amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a decision that directly defies Gov. Greg Abbott's order.
"If I don't, I'm going to lose my bar. If I don't, my employees are not going to be able to eat. And I believe we have rights that are being trampled on right now," Ellison told CNN's Brooke Baldwin during a live CNN interview.
A group of bar owners across the state have joined forces to sue Abbott over the shutdown order.
“He’s picking and choosing winners and losers, so bar owners, they are being sentenced to bankruptcy. But if you're a hair salon, if you're a cosmetologist, if you're a tattoo studio, if you're a barber, you're not just going to survive right now, you're going to thrive," said Jared Woodfill, the attorney representing the Texas bar owners.
Ellison maintained that her decision is motivated by a desire to support her employees.
"I care about them. This is not going to go away. We have got to learn how to live with this. And what I do care about is that children eat," she said.
With the Fourth of July holiday just days away, Ellison is planning a special event, and pledges not to enforce any type of mask mandate.
“I am not going to make people do anything. I am not going to take their rights away," she said.
Noting that people who are sick have the option to stay home, Ellison stood firm on her decision to remain open, a choice she sees as an American right.
"It is not the government's right to take that choice away from us," she said. "Why are we sitting down and letting this happen? What is wrong? ...why are you giving your rights up?”
5:49 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020
Los Angeles reports more than 2,000 new cases for fourth straight day
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
More than 2,000 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Los Angeles County for the fourth straight day.
Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer noted that “immediate action is necessary” in Los Angeles after reporting the county's 2,002 new cases.
Ferrer will reissue health orders to comply with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s directive to close dining inside restaurants, museums, zoos and other activities.
She advised the public to steer clear crowds, confined spaces and close contact with other people.
By the numbers: Health care workers and first responders account for well over 7,000 of Los Angeles County’s 105,000 Covid-19 cases.
Roughly 45% of those work in nursing homes and 25% work in hospitals. More than 50 health care workers have died of Covid-19 in Los Angeles to date, Ferrer said.
Testing locations throughout Los Angeles are at capacity and will not be accommodating new appointments, according to Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly.
More tests will be available next week, she promised. Ghaly said there is no shortage of test kits, but holiday closures and increased demand are the reason for limited appointments.
5:49 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020
House passes Paycheck Protection Program extension by unanimous consent
From CNN's Phil Mattingly
The US House passed an extension of the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program less than 24 hours after the program shut its doors and moving one step closer to reopening the cornerstone small business coronavirus relief effort.
The House passed the extension, which would keep the program open to applications to Aug. 8, unanimously. The measure will now go to President Trump’s desk for his signature.
Why this matters: The House passage completes a whirlwind several days for a program that was all but certain to shutter until bipartisan negotiations were sparked in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon.
Throughout the day Wednesday House Democrats also debated how to handle the extension, with some pushing for additional changes to the program, according to several aides involved in the discussions.
House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, a New York Democrat and central negotiator on the program, said earlier in the day she was pushing the Trump administration for long-sought loan-level details on the program up to this point.
"We need to make an assessment whether or not the program has been successful,” Velasquez told reporter. “We need the data to be able to conclude that this is the way to go.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jovita Carranza, administrator of Small Business Administration, told lawmakers last week that data would be delivered to House committees by the end of this week, but there has been palpable frustration among Democrats over how long it has taken up to this point.
As it stands, more than 4.8 million small businesses tapped more than $520 billion in potentially forgivable loans through the program – a central pillar of the $2.2 trillion emergency economic relief efforts deployed in March to try and keep the economy afloat as the pandemic led to mass shutdowns of businesses around the country.
The program was so critical at its inception that a first round of funding dried up in less than two weeks and had to be replenished. But interest in the program largely dried up in recent weeks, as shifting rules and the inability of borrowers to come back for a second loan limited the number of small businesses able to go through the application process.
More than $130 billion in allocated funds remained unused at the time of the program’s closure Tuesday night.
5:51 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020
Air travel to Hawaii set to ease in August following strict quarantine
From CNN's Greg Wallace
Travel to the nation’s most isolated state is set to become much, much easier in August.
Hawaiian Airlines said Wednesday it will add hundreds of weekly flights to its schedule between Hawaii and the US mainland as the state government eases a strict quarantine. The restrictions have mandated a 14-day quarantine for nearly all travelers in and out of the state, as well as for travel between the state’s islands.
Those rules made travel into the state “almost nonexistent” since April, according to a major airline industry group.
Starting August 1, the state will allow travelers to avoid the quarantine by testing negative for coronavirus ahead of their travel, and presenting proof of that test upon landing. The state said it will not provide testing for travelers at the airport. Travelers will still be required to undergo temperature checks.
Some background: Since late-March, Hawaiian has been operating only a handful of flights between the mainland west coast and Hawaiian islands to “support essential flights and critical cargo transportation,” the airline said.
But as the new state policy rolls out, the airline will resume regular service between Hawaii and several non-west coast cities, including Boston, Las Vegas, New York and Phoenix, as well as Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose. The airline is also adding service this month between the islands and Portland, San Diego, and Sacramento.
The airline said it will ultimately be operating 252 weekly flights between Hawaii and the mainland, and 114 daily flights among the islands.
American travelers have been showing interest in two of Hawaii’s key features: sun and sand. Officials at United Airlines told reporters on Wednesday that it is “seeing strength in beach markets,” including the Caribbean.