Connecticut is pausing moving to phase 3 of reopening, governor says
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
While the Covid-19 numbers in Connecticut continue to trend in the right direction, Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday the state is pausing on moving forward with phase three of their reopening plan, which means keeping bars closed and restaurants at 50% capacity.
Lamont also announced in his daily coronavirus update that the state would be pausing on increasing the capacity of outdoor gatherings beyond 100 people.
Asked at what point the state would consider reopening bars, Lamont said, "Let's wait and see. We’ll be looking around the rest of the country, we’ll be looking at our neighboring states to see if we reach a point where we think we could do it safely."
“Look, I like a beer at the bar as much as the next person. I know how frustrating this can be, but right now, with this pandemic flaring up in a majority of other states, this is not the time to take a risk,” the governor added.
5:09 p.m. ET, July 6, 2020
Texas reports more than 5,300 new Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Raja Razek
Texas recorded 5,318 new Covid-19 cases today, bringing the total to 200,557.
At least 2,655 people have died from the virus in the state.
Texas reported 8,258 cases on July 4 — the state's highest daily number of new Covid-19 cases on record.
One thing to note: These numbers were released by the Texas Health and Human Services, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
5:06 p.m. ET, July 6, 2020
In California, three more inmates died in San Quentin Prison Covid-19 outbreak
From CNN’s Jenn Selva
Three more inmates died of complications from the coronavirus over the weekend at San Quentin prison in Northern California, bringing the total number of deaths to six in an outbreak that has exploded over the past two weeks.
According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), there are currently 1,381 active cases at San Quentin with nearly 70% of those cases popping up in the last 14 days.
Prison officials said Dewayne Michael Carey, 59, died on July 4 at an outside hospital “from what appear to be complications related to Covid-19.”
Carey had been in the state prison system since 1996 after he was convicted of first-degree murder.
The names of the two other inmates who died this weekend on July 5 were not identified.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the deadly outbreak at the prison during a press conference Monday, saying that prisoners who were transferred from the California Institution for Men in Chino to San Quentin in late May, spreading the virus to the facility, “should not have been transferred.”
The active cases at San Quentin account for more than half of the current cases in the entire CDCR system.
7:00 p.m. ET, July 6, 2020
"We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this," Fauci says of Covid-19 pandemic response
From CNN's Andrea Kane
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a White House coronavirus task force member, told National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins on Monday that the current state of the country “is really not good” with respect to its battle against the pandemic, in part because the country tried to open up too quickly.
“In the sense that we have been in a situation we were averaging about 20,000 new cases a day, and then a series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up, in the sense of getting back to some form of normality has led to a situation where we now have record breaking cases. Two days ago it was at 57,500," he said.
Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, made the comments during a Facebook/Twitter livestream event with Collins.
“So within a period of a week and a half, we've almost doubled the number of cases. So, in answer to your first question: We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this. And I would say, this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline, Francis, that really never got down to where we wanted to," he said.
He added: "If you look at the graphs from Europe ... the European Union as an entity, it went up and then came down to baseline. Now they're having little blips, as you might expect, as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline, and now it's surging back up. So it's a serious situation that we have to address immediately.”
4:56 p.m. ET, July 6, 2020
Paycheck Protection Program loan disclosure puts politically connected media in the spotlight
From CNN’s Lauren Fox
The disclosure of companies receiving Paycheck Protection Program loans once again puts the politically well-connected in the spotlight as media companies and consulting groups on both sides of the aisle benefited from the loans.
Conservative media outlets like Newsmax, for example, received between $2 and $5 million from the program.
The Washington Times received between $1 and $2 million in loans and the Daily Caller also received money.
But, Democratically aligned groups like Media Matters received up to $2 million. And, the Messina Group, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Congressional Hispanic Institute and NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation also received between $350,000 and $1 million.
5:00 p.m. ET, July 6, 2020
Top US health official's message to Americans: Coronavirus spread "could stop with each one of us"
From CNN's Andrea Kane
Two top government public health experts tried to reassure Americans that the country will get through this pandemic soon – especially if they adhere to the basic precautionary measures outlined by science.
“We just need all of the people in America to have that confidence. Keep your optimism, keep your hope and do the right thing. Because again, it could stop with each one of us – the further spread of this,” National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said today during a Facebook/Twitter livestream event with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH.
“So, stick with those recommendations: wearing your mask, that six-foot distance apart, frequent hand washing, trying not to get into any indoor circumstances where you’re packed together. All of those simple and straightforward things that I know you're a tired of. But the virus is still out there and needs all of us to keep this from getting any worse,” Collins said.
While acknowledging that Americans are fatigued by these measures, and the country is still reeling from the economic shock of stay-at-home orders, Fauci sought to dispel the myth that the situation is either/or.
“Rather than looking at the public health effort versus economic opening as if they were opposing forces — they're not — we should use the public health effort as a vehicle and a pathway to get to safe reopening. It's not an obstacle. It's a pathway to do that. So we've got to make sure that we don't create this binary type thing of ‘it's us against them.’ It's not. We're all in it together,” Fauci said.
Fauci added that the public health community, as much as anybody else, wants to see the country open and wants to see the economy come back. “So the public health effort as you said very correctly, if done prudently and carefully, will facilitate the opening, not be an obstacle to the opening,” Fauci said.
4:21 p.m. ET, July 6, 2020
International students may need to leave US if their universities transition to online-only
From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez
International students who are pursuing degrees in the United States will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only courses, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday.
The move may affect thousands of foreign students who come to the United States to attend universities or participate in training programs, as well as non-academic or vocational studies.
Universities nationwide are beginning to make the decision to transition to online courses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. At Harvard, for example, all course instruction will be delivered online, including for students living on campus. For international students, that now opens the door to them having to leave the US entirely.
In a statement Monday, ICE said that students who fall under certain visas “may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.
“The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States," the statement read.
The agency suggested that students currently enrolled in the US should consider taking other measures, like transferring to a school with in-person instruction. There’s an exception for universities taking a hybrid model, such as a mix of online and in-person classes.
Visa requirements for students have always been strict and coming to the US to take online-only courses has been prohibited.
“These are not some fly by night universities, these aren't scams, these are legit universities who would normally have in-person curricula but for coronavirus,” said Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
“The bigger issue is some of these countries have travel restrictions on and they can’t go home, so what do they do then?” she added. “It’s a conundrum for a lot of students.”
4:28 p.m. ET, July 6, 2020
How one group is using backpacks to bring hope — and help — to NYC's homeless during Covid-19
As New York City enters phase three of reopening and residents deal with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, one group in particular continues to be vulnerable — the homeless population.
Jayson Conner and Jeffrey Newman started "Backpacks For The Streets," a nonprofit organization that provides essential supplies to the city's homeless. In the months since the pandemic hit, they've handed out almost 5,000 backpacks filled with supplies.
"The whole idea of the program is that it gives hope to people," Newman told CNN's Brooke Baldwin. "This is about giving hope and about saying hey, we see you, we care and somebody is out there trying to help you."
Conner, who was homeless at one point for two years, said that he helped co-found the group because he felt nobody was assisting those living on the streets.
Newman said the program was started two and half years ago. The backpacks are filled with 45 to 50 items that include toiletries, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, snacks, flashlights, a sewing kit, among other items.
"It is hard because so many people out there right now feel invisible and feel like nobody cares. And now with Covid, people are treating the homeless even worse than they did before," Newman said. "There just aren't people out there doing as much as they can to try to help the people out there."