July 1 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 0400 GMT (1200 HKT) July 2, 2020
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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

In this April 21 photo, a man pushes a cart at the international airport in Honolulu. 
In this April 21 photo, a man pushes a cart at the international airport in Honolulu.  Caleb Jones/AP

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.   

5:41 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Repeated, regular testing is needed to control Covid-19 in nursing homes, report finds

From CNN's Maggie Fox

First responders load a patient into an ambulance from a nursing home where multiple people have contracted Covid-19 on April 17 in Chelsea, Massachusetts. 
First responders load a patient into an ambulance from a nursing home where multiple people have contracted Covid-19 on April 17 in Chelsea, Massachusetts.  Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Testing only people with symptoms won’t control outbreaks of coronavirus in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It takes repeated, regular testing of all staff and residents to find and control the cases, the CDC said.

A CDC team and colleagues at the Detroit Health Department formed a rapid testing unit that visited 26 Detroit-area nursing homes and facilities when the virus started spreading there in March. By the time the outbreak ended, 1,207 out of 2,773 residents tested positive for the virus – an attack rate of 44%, the CDC-led team reported in the agency’s weekly report.

Only 55% of those who were infected had symptoms the first time they tested positive, the team reported. 

“Symptom-based screening in skilled nursing facilities is inadequate to detect SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” the team concluded.

Repeated testing helped the team identify cases and separate infected residents and staff from those who were not infected.

“CDC now recommends repeat testing (e.g., every 3–7 days) of all residents and health care personnel who previously had negative test results until testing identifies no new cases of COVID-19 among residents or health care personnel,” the team wrote.

In the three weeks after they were tested, 37% of the Covid-19 patients were hospitalized and 24% of them died, the team found. Those who had symptoms were far more likely to die; 40% of the patients with symptoms died, compared to 5% of those with no symptoms.

5:39 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

House expected to pass Paycheck Protection Program extension tonight

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

The House is expected to pass an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program Wednesday night, according to a House Democratic aide. 

This would follow Senate passage and clear the bill for President Trump’s signature.

The extension would reopen the program, which closed last night, until Aug. 8.

Small business owners discuss Paycheck Protection Program:

5:16 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

CDC does not recommend universal testing for K-12 staff and students

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Universal testing of all students and staff in K-12 schools is not being recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the CDC said schools should test everyone who has had close contact with someone positively tested for Covid-19, as well as those showing symptoms.

“It is not known if testing in school settings provides any additional reduction in person-to-person transmission of the virus beyond what would be expected with implementation of other infection preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, cloth face covering, hand washing, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting),” the CDC said in the guidance. “Therefore, CDC does not recommend universal testing of all students and staff.”

Anyway, schools may lack infrastructure to support the testing and follow up, students, parents and staff may balk at getting tested, and testing could cause disruptions, the CDC said.

If schools do decide to implement a testing plan, the CDC said that they should work alongside other agencies, such as state and local health authorities, to work out what would be the best strategy for them.

5:24 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Number of coronavirus cases in the US military has more than doubled since June 10

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Jamie Crawford

The number of active duty military personnel with Covid-19 has more than doubled since June 10, according to figures published by the Defense Department. 

There are 6,493 US service members who currently have Covid-19. Since the pandemic began, 12,521 US service members have tested positive.

In the last two weeks alone, the number of cases in the Air Force has doubled. On June 15 there were 700 reported cases, but by June 29 it jumped to 1,366.  

Defense officials say the “uptick” in Covid-19 cases at military installations has happened “largely around where we are seeing it in the civilian communities so in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona, some parts of California,” according to Thomas McCaffery, assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

The Air Force in particular has report a "hotspot” in San Antonio where Lackland Air Force Base in located, according to an Air Force official. There is also concern around several Air Force installations in Florida, the official said.

McCaffery noted the uptick includes asymptomatic cases and that hospitalization rates remain low. He also claimed the uptick may be in part to doing more testing. But the uptick has come just as the nation is seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases. As a result of that, “right now our focus is on looking at the data we have with regard to our particular installations and health facilities in those areas where there are hot spots in the community and making determinations based on what’s happening on the ground,” McCaffery said. 

The Defense Department is now specifically looking at data to see if the uptick in cases at those installations might be attributable to interactions with members communities where there has been a large increase in coronavirus infection rates. 

Some context: At least seven Air Force bases have tightened restrictions in the last week.

At the Air Force Global Strike Command headquartered in Barksdale, Louisiana, Gen. Timothy Ray has ordered all military and civilian personnel to wear masks in any public spaces where social distancing is not possible. That goes beyond previous suggested guidance, the Air Force official said.

5:06 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Texas reports highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases

From CNN's Raja Razek

A patient returns his testing sample at a self-collection Covid-19 testing site on Monday, June 29, in Houston.
A patient returns his testing sample at a self-collection Covid-19 testing site on Monday, June 29, in Houston. David J. Phillip/AP

Texas continues to break its own record for highest cases of Covid-19 in a single day, with 8,076 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday.

This is the state's highest number of cases in a single day, bringing the statewide total to 168,062, with 2,481 deaths. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has paused reopening of the state and signed an executive order to close all bars in the hopes that the effort will decrease the spread of Covid-19.

4:54 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

North Carolina records highest single-day increase in Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Janine Mack

Gov. Roy Cooper listens to a question during a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh on Wednesday, July 1.
Gov. Roy Cooper listens to a question during a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh on Wednesday, July 1. Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP

North Carolina has reported the state’s highest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began, said Mandy Cohen, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, during a news conference on Wednesday.

The department reported 66,513 cases of coronavirus and 1,373 deaths. There were 17,660 tests completed and 901 people are hospitalized.

That’s an increase of 1,843 new cases and 30 deaths in one day, according to the department.

“As we go into the holiday weekend, we must keep our guard up. This virus is just as contagious and deadly as any other on a holiday as it is any other day. And I know we want to gather with family and friends, but we have to remember that a large gathering, especially without masking (and) social distancing, is one of the most likely places for Covid-19 to spread,” Cooper said.

Cooper has also delayed a decision on whether or not to reopen open schools in August.

The governor said he would make a decision “within the next couple of weeks.” 

Cooper said that he has given extra time to the state’s school districts to make a plan to reopen and to make sure teachers and staff are prepared.