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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11:43 a.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Florida reports another 6,500 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Tina Burnside

A medical technologist processes coronavirus test samples at the AdventHealth Tampa labs on June 25 in Tampa, Florida.
A medical technologist processes coronavirus test samples at the AdventHealth Tampa labs on June 25 in Tampa, Florida. Octavio Jones/Getty Images

The Florida Department of Health is reporting 6,563 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the state total to at least 158,997, according to data released by the state on Wednesday. 

Today's new daily total is up slight from yesterday's — a little more than 6,000 new cases. The state reported its highest ever daily case count on Saturday, with more than 9,500 new cases.

Here's is the breakdown of coronavirus cases in the state of Florida since Friday: 

  • Friday — 8,942 new cases
  • Saturday — 9,585 new cases
  • Sunday — 8,530 new cases
  • Monday — 5,266 new cases
  • Tuesday — 6,093 new cases
  • Wednesday — 6,563 new cases
11:28 a.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Official US Covid-19 death count could be an underestimate, study says

From CNN Health’s Jacqueline Howard

Medical staff push a stretcher with a deceased patient outside the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on June 30 in Houston, Texas.
Medical staff push a stretcher with a deceased patient outside the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on June 30 in Houston, Texas. Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Official Covid-19 death counts in the United States may underestimate the full rise in fatalities linked with the pandemic, according to a new study.

The new study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine today, found that the number of excess deaths that have occurred so far during the pandemic, between March and May, is actually 28% higher than the nation’s official number of deaths attributed to Covid-19. 

"The gap between reported Covid-19 deaths and excess deaths can be influenced by several factors, including the intensity of testing; guidelines on the recording of deaths that are suspected to be related to Covid-19 but do not have a laboratory confirmation; and the location of death," the researchers wrote in the study.

The researchers added that, "As the pandemic has progressed, official statistics have become better aligned with excess mortality estimates, perhaps due to enhanced testing and increased recognition of the clinical features of Covid-19."

What researches studied: The new study included data from the National Center for Health Statistics on deaths due to pneumonia, influenza and Covid-19, as well as deaths from any cause.

The researchers — from Yale University, National Institutes of Health, Aledade Inc., University of Massachusetts Amherst and Roskilde University in Denmark — used that data to examine how many deaths were due to any cause each week between March and May this year compared with in previous years.

They also examined how many deaths were due to Covid-19 during that same time period.

What the data showed: The researchers found that there were about 781,00 total deaths in the United States from March 1 to May 30, representing 122,300 more deaths than would be typically expected at that time of year compared with previous years.

Meanwhile, there were 95,235 reported deaths attributed to Covid-19 between March and May — a tally less than the total number of excess deaths, the researchers found. The data also showed that the deaths and completeness of death counts vary “markedly” between states. 

Limitations of the study: Analyses were based on provisional data, and are subject to being incomplete due to delays in reporting deaths that have occurred. 

Also, "the number of excess deaths reported herein could reflect increases in rates of death directly caused by the virus, increases indirectly related to the pandemic response (eg, due to avoidance of health care), as well as declines in certain causes (eg, deaths due to motor vehicle collisions or triggered by air pollution)," the researchers wrote in the study.

"Further work is needed to determine the relative importance of these different forces on the overall estimates of excess deaths," they said.

Some context: Certain US officials have raised concerns that deaths not caused by coronavirus have been improperly attributed to Covid-19, while others have been worried that the nation’s Covid-19 death toll has been undercounted.

Health experts have long warned that the national count of Covid-19 deaths in the US could be underestimated.

When it comes to an accurate count of Covid-19 deaths in the US, "we really are just seeing the tip of the iceberg and a lot of it has to do with the tests we have available," Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, a pulmonary and critical care physician on the front lines at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, told CNN in April.


11:20 a.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Yale to require weekly testing for undergrad students during the fall semester

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Yale University
Yale University Shutterstock

Yale University will require extensive testing for students and faculty returning to campus this fall semester, the school's president announced in a letter. 

"All undergraduate students (whether living on or off campus) will be tested upon arrival to campus and will be required to undergo viral testing weekly throughout the semester," the letter reads.

Yale will also require all faculty, "who will be on campus during the fall term ... to be tested for Covid-19 at the start of the semester," the letter reads.

The school says that some faculty may be required to be tested weekly "depending on their Yale duties."

Here are other measures the university will be taking:

  • The school will limit how many undergraduate students are on campus each semester to roughly 60% capacity, according to the announcement.
  • Freshmen, juniors and seniors have the option to live on campus in the fall. Sophomores, juniors and seniors will have that option for the spring semester.
  • Many courses — especially undergraduate courses — will be offered remotely, the president's letter said.
12:15 p.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Why the "dimmer switch" approach to pausing reopening won't work in Arizona, Florida and Texas

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Stools sit stacked inside a closed bar in Austin, Texas, on June 26.
Stools sit stacked inside a closed bar in Austin, Texas, on June 26. Sergio Flores/AFP/Getty Images

The "dimmer switch" approach to reopening some mayors and governors are taking to contain the spread of coronavirus will not work for areas of the country seeing a large increase of new coronavirus cases, according to Erin Bromage, an an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

The so-called dimmer switch technique allows places to gently slow down on reopening, such as easing up on restaurant restarting, but it only works in places were coronavirus numbers are under control, Bromage said on CNN today.

Some places where coronavirus numbers are rising — like Arizona, Texas and Florida — need a hammer instead of a switch to control new cases, Bromage said. 

"The dimmer switch approach works when you have case numbers under control," Bromage told CNN's Jim Sciutto. "We saw New Jersey, we saw New York governors both say we might slow down on reopening restaurants — that's a dimmer switch."

Bromage continued:

"When you get into Arizona numbers, Texas numbers, Florida numbers, that tiny adjustment that you make is not going to have the effect on turning those new infections around fast enough. You've gotta come in with more of a hammer rather than a switch to control this now."
10:25 a.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech shows "encouraging" data in early study

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

The Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech has yielded positive data in early tests, according to data released by the companies.

The companies announced these preliminary findings on Wednesday in a pre-print paper that shows participants in a Phase 1/2 study of the vaccine, called BNT162b1, responded to the immunization and it was found to be well tolerated. The Phase 1/2 study is ongoing. The data has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

"These clinical findings for the BNT162b1 RNA-based vaccine candidate are encouraging and strongly support accelerated clinical development and at-risk manufacturing to maximize the opportunity for the rapid production of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to prevent COVID-19 disease," the researchers wrote in the pre-print paper, which was sponsored by BioNTech and designed by Pfizer.

How the study was conducted: For the initial study, 45 participants ages 18 to 55 were randomly assigned to either receive a certain dose of the vaccine or placebo.

Twelve participants received two 10 microgram doses 21 days apart; 12 received two 30 microgram doses 21 days apart; 12 received a single 100 microgram dose on day one; and nine received placebo, according to the study. 

In the seven days following injection of the vaccine, some participants who received a dose reported pain in the injection site, fever or sleep disturbances, but "no serious adverse events were reported," according to the paper.

Early results of the study: The researchers found that the vaccine generated antibodies against the coronavirus in all of the participants by 28 days after receiving a single injection of 100 micrograms or seven days after receiving a second dose of either 10 or 30 micrograms.

"These preliminary data are encouraging, showing that BNT162b1 which exploits RBD SARS-CoV-2 as a target antigen is able to produce neutralizing antibody responses in humans at or above the levels observed in convalescent sera – and that it does so at relatively low dose levels. We look forward to providing further data updates on BNT162b1," Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, said in a company press release on Wednesday.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Wednesday that this preliminary data will help them determine a dose level for the vaccine then select which of their multiple vaccine candidates to progress to a larger-scale global Phase 2/3 study, possibly beginning as early as this month.

According to the World Health Organization, there are 17 coronavirus candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation globally.


10:23 a.m. ET, July 1, 2020

New York City is reopening its beaches today, mayor says

People gather on a beach at Coney Island on May 24 in New York.
People gather on a beach at Coney Island on May 24 in New York. Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Imagses

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that city will open its beaches.

"Our New York City beaches open today," he said.

He added that 15 public pools in the city will open in the next few weeks

He said that people at the pools will be required to wear face coverings when not in the water. He said that the pool experience is going to be different but "it'll all be worth it."

Here are the pools that will be opening in NYC in the coming weeks:

10:18 a.m. ET, July 1, 2020

New York City mayor says reopening indoor dining will be postponed

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will mot move ahead with plans to reopen indoor dining next week.

"It is not the time to forge ahead with indoor dining," de Blasio said at a news conference.

Restaurants were set to resume indoor service on Monday as the city enters its third phase of reopening. De Blasio did not say when indoor dining will resume in the city.

The mayor said outdoor dining — which began last week — will continue. He said he is "very convinced" New Yorkers can help restaurants survive by dining outside.

"Outdoors is working — period," he said.

11:06 a.m. ET, July 1, 2020

15,000 policemen have been infected with Covid-19 in Peru, interior minister says

From CNN's Claudia Rebaza in London

At least 15,000 policemen have been infected with Covid-19 and 243 have died since the pandemic began in Peru, according to the country’s Interior Minister Gastón Rodríguez

Of the 15,000 affected by the virus, 6,000 have since recovered and returned to work while 289 remain in hospital, Rodríguez told journalists on Monday afternoon.

On Monday, Peru reported 2,848 new Covid-19 cases, its lowest rise in seven days, bringing the total number of cases to 285,213.

The country's death toll reached 9,677 with 173 new deaths. Peru has the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America, following Brazil.

The state of emergency in the country has been extended until July 31 while lockdown’s conditions have changed since Wednesday. While most of Peru including its capital Lima is now under what is called a "localized lockdown," 7 of Peru’s 24 regions remain under a "general" and stricter lockdown.

The South American country was one of the first countries in the region to impose a state of emergency and lockdown in order to fight the pandemic.

10:02 a.m. ET, July 1, 2020

Austin mayor says city has two weeks to change coronavirus trajectory

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Austin Mayor Steve Adler on "CNN Newsroom" on July 1.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler on "CNN Newsroom" on July 1. CNN

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the Texas capital has about two weeks to stem the tide of rising coronavirus cases, and the “messaging war” between state and national leaders could lead to potentially devastating consequences. 

We have literally two weeks, if that, to be able to change the trajectory we're on, or we're going to be set at a place that overwhelms our hospitals,” he said to CNN’s Jim Sciutto.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he’s going to stop listening to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and key member of the White House’s coronavirus task force. 

“It's that kind of messaging, it's the messaging also coming out of Washington that's really making for one of our most significant challenges and problems,” Adler said. 

“The messaging coming from our lieutenant governor and from Washington is that there isn't a problem, that we shouldn't be wearing masks. It creates a confused message for my community,” Adler said, adding that “this messaging war that we're on right now is not helpful.”

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