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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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.

9:50 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

International flights will resume in Kenya next month as part of phased reopening

From CNN's Bethlehem Feleke

Kenya Airways planes are parked at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on March 25.
Kenya Airways planes are parked at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on March 25. Dennis Sigwe/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Kenya will begin a phased reopening of the country by lifting a travel ban in and out of the capital Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa starting tomorrow, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced in a televised address Monday. 

Domestic air travel will resume starting on July 15, while international travel in and out of Kenya is set to resume Aug. 1.

Places of worship will be allowed to re-open with a strict maximum capacity of 100 congregants for ceremonies of up to one hour.

 The daily national dusk-to-dawn curfew has been extended for another 30 days, until Aug. 5, Kenyatta said.

The latest numbers: On Saturday, Kenya registered its highest single-day caseload with 389 new cases reported, according to the country's Ministry of Health.

Despite an increase of reported infections in recent days, Kenyatta assured "we have reached a reasonable level of preparedness across the country to allow us to re-open." 

So far, Kenya has 7,886 confirmed cases and 160 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health. 

 "Should the situation deteriorate and pose a challenge to our health infrastructure, it shall be clawed back," Kenyatta said about the phased re-opening. 

9:13 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Covid-19 antibody drug moves into phase 3 trials, 2,000 US patients expected to enroll 

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Late stage clinical trials of REGN-COV2, a combination antibody treatment for Covid-19 from Regeneron, have begun, according to a news release from the company today.

The phase three trials will be evaluating the ability of the drug to prevent infection among uninfected people who have had close contact to an infected person, such as a patient’s housemate. 

The prevention trial is happening at around 100 sites and is expected to include 2,000 US patients. 

The drug has also moved into the phase two/three portion of two trials testing its ability to treat hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients with Covid-19. These trials will involve 1,850 hospitalized patients and 1,050 non-hospitalized patients, and they are expected to be conducted at 150 sites in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Chile.

The trials are being jointly run with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. 

 "We are running simultaneous adaptive trials in order to move as quickly as possible to provide a potential solution to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections, even in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic," Dr. George D. Yancopoulos, co-founder, president and chief scientific officer of Regeneron, said. "We are pleased to collaborate with NIAID to study REGN-COV2 in our quest to further prevent the spread of the virus with an anti-viral antibody cocktail that could be available much sooner than a vaccine."


8:11 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Masks and social distancing to be part of 2020 Hajj season

From CNN’s Nada AlTaher in Abu Dhabi

A handful of worshippers are seen praying at the Ka’aba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque complex in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on June 23.
A handful of worshippers are seen praying at the Ka’aba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque complex in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on June 23. Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Pilgrims seeking to perform Hajj this year will have to wear masks and observe social distancing rules at all times, under measures imposed by Saudi Arabia, state media reported Monday. 

Last month, Saudi Arabia announced that only 1,000 pilgrims would be allowed to perform the Muslim ritual journey to Mecca this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 Hajj season will not be open to international pilgrims. 

Under the restrictions, pilgrims must remain at least 1.5 meters apart, including during the ritual circling of the Ka'aba known as tawaf. Crowding and pushing will be prohibited, Saudi’s official news agency (SPA) said. 

The kingdom is barring entry to holy sites including Mina, Mozdalefah and Arafat to those without a permit some 10 days before Hajj officially begins and until the Hajj season ends on August 2, according to SPA.

Congregational prayers will be performed while worshippers wear masks and practice social distancing; a contrast to how these prayers are normally carried out in accordance with Islamic rites. 

It will be forbidden to touch or kiss the Ka'aba, or its Black Stone, which Islam teaches is part of an original structure built by the Prophet Abraham.  

Health checks will be carried out at bus stops, places of residence, and other vital areas, with medical teams available on stand-by around the clock, SPA said. 

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia reported 3,580 new cases of coronavirus and 58 deaths in 24 hours, bringing its total number to 209,509 cases and its death toll to 1,916. 

7:58 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Spain's coronavirus antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity

From CNN's Al Goodman

Spain's large-scale coronavirus study indicates that just 5% of its population has developed antibodies, strengthening evidence that a so-called herd immunity to Covid-19 is "unachievable," medical journal the Lancet reported on Monday.

The findings show that 95% of Spain's population remains susceptible to the virus.

Herd immunity is achieved when enough of a population has become infected with a virus or bacteria -- or vaccinated against it -- to stop its circulation.

The European Center for Disease Control told CNN that Spain's research, on a nationwide representative sample of more than 61,000 participants, appears to be the largest study to date among a dozen serological studies on the coronavirus undertaken by European nations.

It adds to the findings of an antibody study involving 2,766 participants in Geneva, Switzerland, published in the Lancet on June 11.

There have been similar studies in China and the United States, and "the key finding from these representative cohorts is that most of the population appears to have remained unexposed" to Covid-19, "even in areas with widespread virus circulation," said a Lancet commentary published along with Spain's findings.

"In light of these findings, any proposed approach to achieve herd immunity through natural infection is not only highly unethical, but also unachievable," said the Lancet's commentary authors, Isabella Eckerle, head of the Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases, and Benjamin Meyer, a virologist at the University of Geneva.

Doctors are uncertain whether having antibodies to the coronavirus means someone cannot be infected again. It's not clear how long or how well antibodies protect people from the virus.

Spain's peer-reviewed study began in April while the nation remained on a strict lockdown, and was conducted by leading government research and epidemiological agencies.

Read the rest of the article here:

8:08 a.m. ET, July 6, 2020

Peru surpasses 300,000 coronavirus cases 

From CNN's Claudia Rebaza and Tim Lister in London, Maija Ehlinger in Atlanta, and Ingrid Formanek in Spain

Health professionals are seen in the hall of the Intensive Care Unit of the Alberto Sabogal Sologuren Hospital, in Lima, Peru, on July 2.
Health professionals are seen in the hall of the Intensive Care Unit of the Alberto Sabogal Sologuren Hospital, in Lima, Peru, on July 2. Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images

Peru's Ministry of Health reported 3,635 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the country's total to 302,718. 

More than half of Peru's cases have been reported in the capital Lima, with 165,307 coronavirus cases to date. The Ministry of Health also confirmed 11,302 hospitalizations and 10,589 deaths across the country.  

Over the past week, Peru has had a daily average of 3,328 Covid-19 infections and 183 deaths. The daily numbers have not shown much variation in the past two weeks.

The director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Carissa Etienne, said last week that Peru is expected to see a peak in infections "at some point in August." 

Peru is the second hardest-hit country by Covid-19 in Latin America -- behind Brazil, which has reported more than 1,600,000 total cases.