July 6 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Tara John, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:10 a.m. ET, July 7, 2020
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10:09 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

FDA authorizes coronavirus antigen test that can yield results in 15 minutes

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

The US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization on Monday for an on-site coronavirus antigen test that can yield results in 15 minutes.

Here's how the test works: The diagnostic test uses a device made by medical technology company Becton, Dickinson and Company that is a little larger than a cell phone to analyze samples, it said.

It detects bits of the coronavirus called antigens. It’s not a home test, but can be used by medical professionals in pharmacies, urgent care centers and doctors’ offices.

The test itself uses a standard nose and throat swab to collect samples, which are put into a small cassette for use in the device for analysis.

Because antigen tests are relatively quick and easy, they have been eyed as a potentially valuable screening tool to quickly test large amounts of people for the virus. 

What antigen tests do: An antigen test looks for a piece of the Covid-19 virus – often the characteristic spike-like proteins on its surface ­– as opposed to the more common molecular coronavirus test, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which looks for the virus’ genetic material.

PCR tests are more accurate, but they are complex and take longer to deliver results – often days.

This is the second antigen test to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Word of caution: Under an EUA, the agency can greenlight a medical product to address a public health emergency on an expedited basis. These products require further evaluation to receive full FDA approval. The FDA has authorized more than 160 tests under EUAs, including 136 molecular tests and 25 antibody tests.  

While acknowledging the potential of antigen tests as a triage tool, the World Health Organization cautioned against their use in April, saying they are not terribly accurate.

They generally have a 34% to 80% sensitivity range – meaning they correctly detect the virus just 34% to 80% of the time.

The BD antigen test is capable of 84% sensitivity, according to the company, which referenced clinical studies of the test at more than 20 sites across the US.

Antigen tests require a larger viral load than molecular tests to detect the virus. That means the sample must be taken correctly and must include enough of the virus for the test to find it.

While positive results are very reliable, a negative test should be followed up with a PCR test to be sure.

“Similar to all immunoassay tests, FDA recommends that negative test results be confirmed by a molecular method to confirm the result, if necessary, for patient management,” BD said in a statement. 

The company already has 25,000 testing devices in use in labs and hospitals across the US to detect flu and strep. BD said it plans to manufacture up to 10 million coronavirus tests for use in the devices by September and 2 million a week by the end of September. Dave Hickey, president of Integrated Diagnostic Solutions for BD, said the company plans to expand internationally as regulatory conditions are met.

9:59 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Covid-19 cases climb throughout the Middle East

From CNN's Dana Ford and Hamdi Alkhshali

A health official is seen at a hospital in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, on June 29.
A health official is seen at a hospital in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, on June 29. Fariq Faraj Mahmood/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Health officials in countries throughout the Middle East are reporting higher numbers of coronavirus infections.

Here’s a look at the latest figures:

  • In Kuwait, cases jumped Monday to more than 50,000, according to the Health Ministry.
  • The Health Ministry in Qatar said that cases there have topped 100,000, while officials in Oman reported nearly 48,000 confirmed cases.
  • Iran reported at least 2,613 new cases of coronavirus Monday, bringing the country’s total to more than 243,000.
  • In Iraq, the total case count exceeds 62,000, with 1,796 new cases reported Monday, according to the Health Ministry.
  • Numbers also continued to climb in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where total counts of confirmed coronavirus cases stand at more than 75,000 and more than 145,000, respectively. Saudi Arabia reported 3,580 new cases Sunday, according to the Health Ministry. Egypt recorded 1,218 new cases Sunday, state news outlet Al-Ahram reported.
9:37 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Stocks rally at Monday's opening bell

 From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks rallied higher at Monday’s opening bell, following global stocks. 

Asian markets had a particularly impressive session, with the Shanghai Composite recording its best day in five years. This positive market sentiment spilled over into the European and US trading sessions and gave investors a new reason to ignore rising Covid-19 infections across America.

Here's how the market opened:

  • The Dow opened 1.4%, or 365 points, higher.
  • The S&P 500 rose 1.3%. The index is on track for its longest winning streak since December – five days.
  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.5%. The Nasdaq ended last week at a record high and could eke out another record today. 
9:37 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Officials in states with surging Covid-19 cases now say they reopened too soon

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

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

This week marks about two months since many states kicked off their reopening plans  — which now officials across the country say came too quickly.

In Florida, officials shut multiple beaches throughout the state hoping to avoid Fourth of July crowds. The state reported 9,999 new coronavirus cases Sunday, bringing Florida's total to more than 200,000 infections.

"There's no doubt ... that when we reopened, people started socializing as if the virus didn't exist," Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told ABC This Week.

In Texas, which reported its second highest day of new cases over the weekend, a local leader said the state opened "too early, too much," driving Houston hospitals to surge capacity in recent days.

"Wishful thinking is neither good economic policy, nor good public health policy," Texas Judge Lina Hidalgo said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday. "If we had stayed shut down for longer and opened more slowly, we would probably be in a more sustainable place in our economy."

The announcement came days after the governor himself  — who pushed for one of the most aggressive reopening plans in the country  — shut bars back down.

"If I could go back and redo anything it probably would have been the opening of bars, now seeing in the aftermath how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has told CNN affiliate KVIA.

In Arizona, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego told ABC's "This Week" that her state "opened way too early," attributing much of the "explosion" in cases to people between the ages of 20 and 44.

Here's a look at how new Covid-19 cases have progressed in these three states:

9:17 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

White House doubles down on Trump's false claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are "harmless"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows listens during a meeting at the White House on April 30.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows listens during a meeting at the White House on April 30. Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool/Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows this morning doubled down on false comments from the President that 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless.”

Meadows made his first television appearance in his new role on Fox News and gaggled with reporters today.

“I’m not sure which public health experts that you’re talking about. I probably get to review more numbers, and when you look at the facts, when you look at, really, what we’re dealing with, a lot of these cases are asymptomatic. Additionally, when we look at a population of over 325 million people and what we’re looking at, those statistics would indicate about 102%. When that 99% came, it came from actual numbers. And you can look at numbers a number of different ways,” he told reporters at the White House.

Remember: Data from Johns Hopkins University suggests a coronavirus fatality rate of 4.6%, not to mention effects on many Americans who are getting very sick but not dying.

Meadows continued, “Probably the biggest thing that I’m looking at is how do we track and how do we make sure that those are protected. And if you look at the vast majority of those 65 years of age and younger, if they don’t have a comorbidity, we’re looking at this as not only not as dangerous as a number of other things that potentially cause a loss of life, and that’s the real key – it’s when you start to take out some of the deaths we’ve had in nursing homes. It’s not to downplay the deaths that we’ve had, but it’s really, to look statistically, to know that whatever risks you may have or I may have or my children or my grandchildren may have, let’s look at that appropriately, and I think that that’s what he was trying to do.” 

He later suggested Trump did not intend to downplay people getting sick as a result of the virus.

“I don’t think it was the President’s intent to downplay that as much as saying let’s look at the risk and let’s look at this in an appropriate way based on facts and figures,” he said.

9:12 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

TSA screened 2.7 million people over US holiday weekend

From CNN's Gregory Wallace

Airline travel over the Fourth of July holiday weekend surged to new pandemic-era highs.   

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it screened more than 700,000 people on each of three days this weekend – the first time above 700,000 since mid-March. 

The nearly 2.7 million people screened over the four-day period from Thursday through Sunday were about 28% of the 9.4 million people seen during the equivalent weekend last year. 

The agency has also reported more than 960 cases of coronavirus among its workforce, including six deaths. 

The weekend was the first since April when American Airlines began selling flights up to full capacity. 

United Airlines has also been selling flights up to capacity. Both airlines say they are warning passengers that flights could be full and will allow passengers to re-book without a fee to a less-full flight. 

American said Saturday its three busiest days since the pandemic hit were the first three days of July. 

While airlines note travel volumes are still far below sustainable levels, they have been preparing for growth from the lows hit in mid-April. 

Data from Airlines for America, representing major U.S. carriers, shows airlines have removed 800 planes put into storage during the pandemic as of Sunday. Thirty nine percent of the US fleet is grounded right now, according to the group.   

 US airlines are operating only 46% of their usual capacity, according to the group. 

9:10 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

White House coronavirus task force will meet this afternoon

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Betsy Klein

The White House coronavirus task force will meet at 4:00 p.m. ET today, according to the vice president's public schedule. The event is closed to press.

CNN reported earlier today that the task force did not meet this weekend despite growing cases in the country.

Though the task force has started meeting more regularly in recent weeks after a period with few meetings, it has not resumed meeting on the weekends like it did in the early months of the outbreak. 

Task force officials were invited to the Fourth of July event on the South Lawn where there was little social distancing and few people wore masks, one person said. While several attended the festivities, others declined that invite.

9:00 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

It's Monday morning on the US East Coast. Here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.

The US marked Fourth of July over the weekend, and while some areas saw both measured celebrations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic other places were packed with crowds.

Here's what you need to know about the virus this Monday:

  • How coronavirus spreads: A group of international experts are now warning that the coronavirus can float and be transmitted via air droplets — but some agencies have been reluctant to acknowledge the airborne nature of the virus. 
  • Florida fails to trace: While Florida emerges as the nation's top hotspot, a CNN investigation found health authorities often failed to perform contact tracing, which has long been considered a key tool in containing coronavirus outbreaks. CNN spoke with 27 Floridians — or their family members — who tested positive for the virus and only five said they received a call from health authorities asking for their contacts.
  • Where cases are rising: At least 32 states reporting a rise in cases compared to the previous week. Only four states  — Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts and New Hampshire  — are seeing a decline in cases. Here's a look at where cases are increasing across this US:

9:27 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

New York City enters phase 3 today without indoor dining

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

People eat outdoors at a restaurant in New York on June 26.
People eat outdoors at a restaurant in New York on June 26. John Nacion/NurPhoto/AP

New York City enters phase three of its Covid-19 reopening today. In a news release yesterday, the governor reiterated that indoor dining will not be a part of this reopening. 

“New York City is a crowded, dense urban area and — until recently — was the global epicenter of the Covid-19 crisis," Cuomo said in the news release. "Out of an abundance of caution and after seeing other states' experiences with indoor dining, we will wait to reopen it as the city moves to phase three tomorrow.”

The governor urged everyone in the state to wear a mask, socially distance, use hand sanitizer and "continue the smart practices that have made our state a national leader in combatting this virus."

"I also remind local governments of their duty to enforce the standards that have made NY's reopening safe and successful," Cuomo said in the statement.

Phase three of reopening allows sports and recreation to resume, including city basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball, dog runs, handball and bocce, according to the city's mayor.

Latest state numbers: New York added 533 cases Saturday, with .84 percent positivity rate. The state reported 8 deaths.