July 4 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Brett McKeehan, Laura Smith-Spark and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0448 GMT (1248 HKT) July 5, 2020
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4:25 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

3,000 residents in public housing blocks now under "hard lockdown" in Australian city of Melbourne

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney, Australia

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews speaks during a press conference on July 4, in Melbourne, Australia.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews speaks during a press conference on July 4, in Melbourne, Australia. Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

About 3,000 people in nine public housing towers in the Australian city of Melbourne are now confined to their homes due to Covid-19 outbreaks, Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews said Saturday.

The “hard lockdown” is effective immediately and will continue for at least five days, he said. Every resident will be tested for the coronavirus. 

Police will monitor the buildings, and no one will be allowed in or out, Andrews said. This is the first time that such an order has been issued in Australia since the pandemic began.

“We at no point underestimate how challenging this will be for vulnerable people in public housing towers,” Andrews said. It will be a “massive logistical task to make sure people are fed and given the support that they need.”

Two postcodes have been added to 10 areas of Melbourne already subject to a softer stay-at-home order. The hundreds of thousands of people in those 12 areas are allowed to leave their homes for “shopping for food supplies, care and care-giving, exercise, study or work if it can’t be done from home,” Andrews said.

“You are on the frontline on the fight against this virus, we are proud of you and we understand you need support,” he added, addressing people under lockdown. “Your sacrifice is central to the safety of every Victorian family – you have our gratitude.”

A total of 108 new Covid-19 cases were detected in Victoria on Friday -- the state's worst day since March 21 and second-worst since the pandemic began.

As of Saturday, Australia has recorded 8,261 coronavirus cases and 104 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

5:29 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

More than 1,400 Georgia health care workers sign letter asking governor for more restrictions

From CNN's Hollie Silverman, Susannah Cullinane and Steve Almasy

More than 1,400 Georgia health care workers have petitioned the state's governor asking that he impose further restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Georgia has seen the virus surge in the past week, with the number of new cases increasing by more than 50%.

In a letter dated Thursday, the health care workers ask that Gov. Brian Kemp close bars and nightclubs and prohibit indoor gatherings of more than 25 people -- including at places of worship.

The letter also recommends a statewide face covering requirement and asks that the governor allow mayors and county officials to institute requirements appropriate for their jurisdictions.

Read more here.

3:04 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

16 fresh coronavirus cases linked to gym in South Korean apartment building

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

South Korean Imperial guards wear face masks near the Deoksu Palace in Seoul, South Korea, on July 3.
South Korean Imperial guards wear face masks near the Deoksu Palace in Seoul, South Korea, on July 3. Ahn Young-Joon/AP

South Korea reported 63 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday, 36 of which were locally transmitted and 27 imported, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Of the new infections, 25 cases are linked to an apartment building in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi, near Seoul. Sixteen of those have been connected to an indoor gym a resident visited.

Another cluster recorded this week involves a temple in Gwangju, where about 60 cases have been reported. Gwangju is the sixth-largest city in South Korea, located in the southwest of the country.

That brings the national total to 13,030 cases. About 11,800 people in the country have recovered from Covid-19 so far, while 936 remain in quarantine. There have been 283 deaths from the disease in South Korea, with one additional fatality Friday.

Kwon Joon-wook, Deputy Director of the KCDC, said gene analysis was being conducted on the fresh clusters, the results of which will be released next week.

“Mutated coronavirus has been detected in South Korea and an epidemic investigation team has been dispatched to Gwangju," he said. "It is concerning that the virus seems to be spreading faster than the past cases in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province."
8:17 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

India records its highest daily rise in coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Swati Gupta in New Delhi

A  health worker collects a swab sample for Covid-19 in Kolkata on July 1.
A health worker collects a swab sample for Covid-19 in Kolkata on July 1. Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images

India recorded 22,771 new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said Saturday -- the country's highest daily increase since the pandemic began.

The total number of confirmed cases in India is now at 648,315, with 18,655 deaths. More than 394,200 people have recovered from the illness, with 235,433 active cases remaining.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, more than 9 million tests have been conducted in the country, with 242,383 tests conducted Friday alone.

8:17 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

As US cases rise, here are tips from afar on how to keep coronavirus in check this holiday weekend

From CNN's Angela Dewan in London

Fireworks light up the sky on June 30, in New York City.
Fireworks light up the sky on June 30, in New York City. Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Fireworks, pool parties and drinking at bars with friends — that's how many Americans would liked to be celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend. But many local leaders and health officials hope things will be a lot less festive this year.

Just a couple of months ago, the coronavirus outbreak in the US was serious, but it wasn't such a different picture in Europe. Now, previously hard-hit European nations like Italy, the UK, France and Spain have their outbreaks under control while the situation in the US remains grim.

Despite lockdowns in many states, the US never really got a grip on the virus and now cases are rising faster than ever. On Thursday, the country reported more than 51,000 infections -- the highest number in a single day yet.

There's a lot to learn from the impacted countries that managed to turn things around, as well as those that were so quick and organized that they all but eradicated the virus.

Florida, Texas and Arizona have among the most dramatic spikes in infections, and much of the country has ordered shut the businesses they had reopened. But there is still hope the US can bounce back. Preventing more spikes this holiday weekend could be key to finding some relief later this summer and fall.

Read the full story for some tips from abroad on how Americans can move forward

12:33 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Three death row inmates at San Quentin die from coronavirus complications

From CNN's Nicole Chavez

At least three death row inmates at California's San Quentin State Prison had coronavirus and died, corrections officials says.

Scott Thomas Erskine, 57, and Manuel Machado Alvarez, 59, died Friday from "what appear to be complications related to Covid-19," the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.

Both men had been hospitalized outside the prison.

An outbreak of the virus has overrun San Quentin since last month, with more than a third of incarcerated people there testing positive for Covid-19, according to CDCR data.

Earlier this week, authorities confirmed that Richard Stitely, another death row inmate who was found unresponsive in his cell, had the virus. That was the first known death linked to coronavirus in the facility.

A fourth death row inmate, Joseph Safarino Cordova, died Wednesday but it's unclear whether he tested positive for the virus.

The deaths of 24 incarcerated people in state prisons have been linked to Covid-19, the CDCR said.

Read more here.

8:17 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

Trump uses Mount Rushmore address to rail against removal of monuments

From CNN's Betsy Klein

US President Donald Trump at Mount Rushmore.
US President Donald Trump at Mount Rushmore. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump on Friday made an impassioned appeal to his base while in the shadow of Mount Rushmore instead of striking a unifying tone, railing against what he called a "merciless campaign" by his political foes to erase history by removing monuments some say are symbols of racial oppression.

"As we meet here tonight there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for," Trump warned.

He continued, "Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children."

The crowd booed loudly.

He lambasted "far-left fascism" in media and schools and "cancel culture," which he called the "very definition of totalitarianism," and vowed to protect the monument under which he stood.

"Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers, and to our freedom," he vowed as he stood at its base.

There was no social distancing at the event despite record-high new coronavirus cases in the United States.

And the pandemic once again made its way into the President's inner circle when news broke that Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend and top campaign official Kimberly Guilfoyle had tested positive for coronavirus upon arriving in South Dakota.

Read more here.

5:30 p.m. ET, July 4, 2020

The United States is not ready to celebrate yet

From CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta

People gather at the beach on July 3, in Huntington Beach, California.
People gather at the beach on July 3, in Huntington Beach, California. Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Back in the middle of May, I wrote an essay titled "If the United States were my patient," pondering what it would be like if the US were a flesh-and-blood person who had gotten sick with an ongoing infection.

Seven weeks later, as we approach the patient's birthday -- July 4 -- I thought it would be a good time to check in and see how the patient's doing.

It turns out the answer is: not well at all.

In fact, with daily infection rates breaking records on many days during the last couple of weeks, we are arguably worse off today than at any point in the pandemic. Consider: This week, 15 states saw their highest seven-day averages, and the country is seeing around 50,000 new cases a day.

We have less than 5% of the global population, but about 25% of coronavirus cases and deaths. Several states, including Texas and Arizona, are on the verge of having recently infected patients overwhelm hospital capacity.

As a doctor, I'm frustrated. I feel our patient's deterioration didn't have to happen and there were many unforced errors.

Read more here.

8:17 a.m. ET, July 4, 2020

US reports more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases for third straight day

From CNN's  Faith Karimi, Ray Sanchez and Nicole Chavez

Two women wearing face masks speak at a table in The Palace restaurant on July 3, in Miami Beach, Florida.
Two women wearing face masks speak at a table in The Palace restaurant on July 3, in Miami Beach, Florida. Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

As Americans find some beaches closed and Fourth of July fireworks scarce, authorities fear the holiday weekend may worsen the already ravaging coronavirus pandemic.

More than two months after the first peak affected just a handful of states, the virus is cresting again across the South and Southwest.

The US reported Friday at least 51,842 new cases, marking the third day straight with a daily high of more than 50,000 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Those who have not given up celebrating America's independence outdoors are finding that beaches in Miami and Los Angeles have been closed, tubing in Texas rivers has been banned and city-sponsored celebrations will be live-streamed.

California, Arizona, Texas and Florida all posted record new cases this week. Florida reported nearly 9,500 additional coronavirus cases on Friday, with Texas adding 7,555 after back-to-back days with about 8,000 a piece.

Florida is averaging more new cases per day -- 7,870 -- than any other state, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. California and Texas trail close behind.

The US now has a total of 2,793,435 coronavirus cases, as well as 129,434 related deaths.

Read more here.