July 2 coronavirus news

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7:18 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

The US is "not going in the right direction," Fauci says

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Al Drago/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Al Drago/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

The US coronavirus pandemic is not headed in a positive direction, but it’s possible to balance the yearning to reopen with precautions that can help slow the spread of coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with JAMA on Thursday.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that we are not going in the right direction,” he said.

On Wednesday, more than 50,000 new infections were reported in the US and at least 23 US states had paused or rolled back reopening plans. 

Fauci said it’s not a case of either supporting reopening or supporting public health measures. “There's this feeling of an all or none phenomenon, where you're either on lockdown or you're just going to say…the devil may care and just let it all go,” he said.

“The best way, as a vehicle to opening the country in a safe way, is to prudently use public health measures,” Fauci said. “It’s not public health against opening.”

The guidance is especially relevant as the nation enters a holiday weekend amid new evidence that suggests the virus has mutated to become more infectious.

“It does look like a particular mutation may make the virus more transmissible,” Fauci said. Research released Thursday suggests that the mutation does not, however, make people sicker. 

Fauci said pool testing, a strategy that tests multiple samples at once, can be a helpful surveillance tool. It’s especially useful when there are not many cases of the virus in a community.

“If you have a situation where you have very low penetrance, but you want to make sure it's low, it's so much better to do pool testing than it is to try and do individual testing in the community,” he said. “It saves resources. It saves time. It saves equipment, and it saves money.”

Fauci said that pool testing, along with intermittent screening, could come in handy when colleges reopen in the fall.

For grade schools, he recommended making decisions based on the viral activity within particular regions. “Within the realm of some prudent evaluation of the safety to the children and the impact on the community, we should try as best as possible to get the kids back to school,” he said.

Hear more:

6:26 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Brazil nears 1.5 million coronavirus cases

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso and Taylor Barnes

Brazil’s health ministry reported 48,105 new cases of novel coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the country’s total to at least 1,496,858.

The number of new cases reported Thursday is the second highest reported by Brazil during the pandemic. 

The highest number Brazil reported in a 24-hour period occurred on June 19 when the ministry reported 54,771 new cases, a spike the government said at the time was due in part to “instability” in how a few populous states exported their data.

The ministry also reported 1,252 new Covid-19 fatalities on Thursday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 61,884.

6:25 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Alabama extends public health emergency until September 9

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch and Giovanna Van Leeuwen

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has extended the state’s public health emergency for another 90 days – making it set to expire on September 9.

This is the second 60-day extension of the state of emergency, which was declared on March 13, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At this time, it is impossible to predict how long the COVID-19 pandemic will require the existence of a state of emergency,” Ivey said her in her proclamation. “Nevertheless, I understand and appreciate the substantial reliance that many people, businesses and government entities have to come to place on measures adopted by the various emergency proclamations I have issued as part of the state’s COVID-19 response.”

The order states that all subsequent orders or regulations remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency unless rescinded or extended by a proclamation.

The state reported at least 40,111 cases of coronavirus and at least 985 deaths. 

Note: These numbers were released by the Alabama Department of Public Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

6:22 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

The pandemic could leave 41 million people unemployed in Latin American and the Caribbean

From CNN's Tatiana Arias

Latin America and the Caribbean could see a historic record number of unemployment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Labor Organization (ILO) warned in a new report published Wednesday.

“The unemployment rate could rise between 4 and 5 percentage points, bringing the number of unemployed in the region to a historical record of 41 million people. If the crisis worsens, the employment situation could worsen, amplifying social inequalities,” the report says.

Before the pandemic hit Latin America and the Caribbean, the unemployment rate in the region was 8.1%, or about 26 million people at the end of 2019, according to ILO.

ILO’s latest report analyzes data from the World Bank, which estimates a 7.2% drop in the region’s economic growth – leading to an 12.3% unemployment rate. The ILO also analyzed the latest numbers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which estimate an economic contraction of 9.4%, resulting in a 13% unemployment rate.

“In absolute numbers, these rates imply an increase in the number of people who are looking for a job and do not get it; from 26 million before the pandemic to 41 million in 2020,” ILO specialists explained during a virtual news conference on Wednesday.

ILO’s report says the majority of the workers in various economic sectors are now at a high risk of unemployment due to the pandemic. About 40% of people with a high risk of unemployment work in high risk economic sectors such as hospitality, food service, small businesses and manual labor, another 17% are in the medium to high risk sectors, and only 20% of the labor force is engaged in low risk economic activities such as those in government, education and health jobs.  

6:20 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

CDC forecast projects nearly 148,000 US coronavirus deaths by July 25

From CNN's Arman Azad

An ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects nearly 148,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by July 25.

This week’s national forecast relies on 24 individual forecasts from outside institutions and researchers. The new projections, published Thursday, forecast 147,865 deaths by July 25, with a possible range of about 139,000 to 161,000 deaths.

“The state-level ensemble forecasts suggest that the number of new deaths over the next four weeks in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming will likely exceed the number reported over the last four weeks,” the CDC says on its forecasting website.

“For other states, the number of new deaths is expected to be similar to the number seen in the previous four weeks or to decrease slightly," the forecast adds.

Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections for the next month. The previous ensemble forecast, published last Wednesday, projected about 139,000 coronavirus deaths by July 18.

According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States, at least 128,574 people have died in the US from coronavirus so far.

6:02 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Peru's coronavirus death toll surpasses 10,000

From CNN's Claudia Rebaza, Radina Gigova and CNNE's Jimena De la Quintana

Health professionals are seen in the hall of the Intensive Care Unit of the Alberto Sabogal Sologuren Hospital, in Lima, on July 02.
Health professionals are seen in the hall of the Intensive Care Unit of the Alberto Sabogal Sologuren Hospital, in Lima, on July 02. Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images

Peru's health ministry reported 185 new Covid-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing the country’s total to at least 10,045.

The ministry also reported 3,527 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the nationwide total to at least 292,004.

However, the ministry said that Thursday marks the sixth consecutive day when the number of people who have been discharged from hospitals is higher than the number of new cases. During the six-day period, a total of 22,291 people were discharged, the ministry said. 

"Peru today recorded one of its best dates in the fight against the pandemic," the ministry said in a statement. "This data confirms that although the spread of the new coronavirus continues, it is becoming smaller on a smaller scale" due to the efforts by authorities. 

The ministry said the trend indicates the measures adopted by the government to stop the spread of the virus are beginning to show a positive impact in controlling the pandemic.

"However, this decrease will be marked if all Peruvians assume self-care and protection behaviors, using the mask, respecting the physical distance of at least one meter and washing our hands constantly," the ministry added. 

Peru's Medical College reported on Thursday that at least 70 doctors have died from the virus in the country and 2,062 have been infected.

5:55 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Miami mayor "extremely concerned" about Covid-19 spread over Fourth of July weekend

Miami, Florida, Mayor Francis Suarez said he is "extremely concerned" about the spread of coronavirus during the Fourth of July weekend if people don't take precautions.

Suarez said the city has seen cases spike after big weekends like Memorial Day and high school and college graduations. He said the city is taking measures to prevent that from happening again.

"We've canceled Fourth of July shows so people aren't tempted to congregate. Beaches are closed. We're going to be enforcing. We're hoping that enforcement prevents people from congregating and requires people to wear the masks that we know will protect them," he told CNN on Thursday.

Suarez added that contact tracers have also found that the virus has been spreading from house parties. He said he agreed with Dr. Deborah Birx's recommendation earlier today that all Florida residents who attended mass gatherings get tested – even if they don't have symptoms.

"I absolutely would urge them to do that. I think what happens often times is we're seeing a lot, anecdotally, of one person getting sick and then the entire household gets sick," he said.

"I absolutely think that's a very wise decision for everyone to get tested," he added.

Watch:

5:58 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

University of Alabama says it knew about "Covid party" rumors for weeks

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

Bill Sikes/AP/FILE
Bill Sikes/AP/FILE

The University of Alabama is responding to reports of so-called "Covid parties," saying it has been aware of the rumors "for weeks."

The university said it has conducted an investigation, but it was not able to identify any students who may have participated, according to a statement.

"Our students want a return to on-campus instruction and the extracurricular opportunities they enjoy, and we fully expect them to safeguard their personal health and safety and that of everyone at the university and in our city," the statement said.

The university added it is committed to the safety and well-being of the community and will enforce rules about on-campus activities "stringently" as well as follow up on any more information they receive.

"It is essential that students cooperate and comply with these guidelines to allow for the safe return and continued operations of our campus," the university said.

The statement said the university plans to test all students before they return to campus.

Some background: Tuscaloosa City Council member Sonya McKinstry said at a meeting Tuesday that Fire Chief Randy Smith confirmed with local doctors that young people in the city are throwing parties with a payout if they catch coronavirus.

McKinstry said that tickets are sold to the party – and people that are Covid positive are invited. The goal is to be the first person to be confirmed by a doctor to have coronavirus, and you win the money made off the ticket sales.  

McKinstry says that there have been several parties in the city and surrounding area over the last three weeks, and probably more they don’t know about.

5:37 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020

Covid-19 case average doubles in San Francisco

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

People sit at restaurants on Pier 39 in San Francisco, California, on Monday, June 22.
People sit at restaurants on Pier 39 in San Francisco, California, on Monday, June 22. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images/FILE

The average number of new coronavirus cases in San Francisco has doubled, according to the health department.

Comparing averages from June 13 to June 27, the average daily count of new cases has gone from 24 to 54.

Similarly, hospitalizations in San Francisco have increased more than 50%. Included in that rise are 18 patients transferred from San Quentin State Prison, and Fresno and Imperial counties. 

“We are on high alert, and we know that when the virus takes off, it moves very fast,” Dr. Grant Colfax, the city's director of health, said Thursday. “We continue to follow the science data and facts as we guide the public to safer interactions. The most important thing that San Franciscans can do to slow the spread of the virus is to take health and safety precautions, including staying home if sick and getting tested even if they have even one symptom of Covid.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said she has paused the city’s plans to reopen further, which was originally slated for June 29.