Connecticut sees no new coronavirus-related deaths for the first time in months
From CNN's Molly Silverman
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said that for the first time in months, there were no Covid-19-related fatalities in the state over the past 24 hours.
Lamont also said it puts the state “in a very good standing compared to just about any state in the country."
Lamont said the state did 6,000 tests Monday and is at a 1% positivity rate.
4:50 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
Trump pushes country to fully open: "We'll never close"
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
President Trump said the US is “not closing, we’ll never close,” as he once again pushed the country to fully reopen on Tuesday.
“We’re at 130,” Trump said at an event on reopening schools, referring to the more than 130,000 Americans who have now died from the virus. “I think we could have been 2 and a half or 3 million people,” he said.
“We’ve saved literally hundreds of thousands of lives,” the President said.
Trump was responding to an event attendee who was advocating for what sounded like a modified herd immunity. She talked about protecting “the vulnerable,” while pushing “interaction that helps to get that immunity” for others.
“Now we’re open,” Trump said. “The vulnerable, we understand who has the biggest problem with it, and we watch that group and that age group, and also people who aren’t feeling so well.”
He said the US has "really done it right" and now is the time to stay open, adding, "we will put out the fires as they come up but we have to open our schools."
“We’re not closing,” Trump said. “We’ll never close.”
He went on to admit that some places will “have difficulty and they’ll do what they have to do.”
“That will be largely up to the governors,” he said, emphasizing the word largely, “but it’s also, they’re in very strong consultation with us.”
Trump earlier in the event said he was going to put pressure on governors to reopen their schools.
4:23 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
More medical help coming to the San Antonio-area to assist with rising hospitalizations
From CNN's Ashley Killough and Kay Jones
Additional medical help is coming to the San Antonio-area to assist with the rising number of hospitalizations due to Covid-19, according to the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council.
Executive Director Eric Epley said there are 39 medical personnel from varying medical background and disciplines from Fort Carson, Colorado, coming to help staff area hospitals. An additional 200 RNs are being assigned to San Antonio, the Texas Department of State Health Services said on Monday.
University Hospital spokesperson Leni Kirkman told CNN the staff has been stretched thin for the past few weeks and the additional help is "a big relief here."
She said that it's easy to convert operating beds into ICU beds, but the hard part is actually getting the additional personnel to staff them.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a press conference Monday evening there are 1,168 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the city and that hospital bed availability is currently at 12%.
Bexar County has seen a 25% increase in positive cases over the past week, according to the DSHS, with 15,102 total cases reported since the start of the pandemic.
The city is experiencing a very recent slowdown in new cases, but officials are saying it's too early to tell if the cases are plateauing.
“It remains to be seen if this decline is going to be sustained,” said Dr. Anita Kurian, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s assistant director, at a press conference Monday night.
As CNN previously reported, the US military announced Monday it is sending approximately 50 medical and support personnel to the San Antonio area.
4:40 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
Stocks finish lower as Covid-19 cases continue to rise around the US
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
US stocks ended in the red on Tuesday, pulling back after the prior session’s rally. Worries about rising Covid-19 infections across America weighed on the market.
Here's where the market closed:
The Dow closed 1.5%, or 397 points, lower. Only two Dow stocks – Walmart and Proctor & Gamble – ended in the green.
The S&P 500 ended down 1.1%, snapping its longest winning streak since December.
The Nasdaq Composite, which closed at an all-time high Monday, finished down 0.9%.
4:46 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
China's delay in getting out key information about Covid-19 affected the global response, official says
From CNN’s Andrea Kane
China’s delay in disseminating basic information at the start of the pandemic affected the global response to Covid-19, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Tuesday.
“One quick comment on China… I have to say if we had known about the level of asymptomatic spread, I think we would have all looked at this differently,” Birx said at an online event put on by the Atlantic Council to discuss the shaping the post-Covid world.
“The delay and the information of human-to-human spread, and then the delay of the information about how transmittable this was, and what the spectrum of disease was… I think if countries had known that at the beginning, there would have been a very different response to this,” she said.
“And I think, not figuring that out until the depth of that asymptomatic disease — we always knew it was 15 to 20% but finding out that it's 40 or more percent — I think if we had known that, and that's usually the initial country's responsibility to really get out information about the spectrum of disease, and I think that did delay across the board our ability to really see or look for this," she said.
On the whole, Birx praised the international community’s willingness to get information out and to cooperate on therapeutics and the vaccine effort.
4:44 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
Fourth MLB team forced to suspend workout pending Covid-19 results
From CNN's David Close
The San Francisco Giants have suspended Tuesday’s planned summer camp workout session due to a delay in receiving Covid-19 testing results.
Three other Major League Baseball teams, the Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Nationals, were forced to halt their practices on Monday while waiting on coronavirus test results.
“The Giants are suspending workouts at Oracle Park, pending the results of tests conducted this past weekend," the Giants said in a statement.
CNN has reached on to MLB on the issue.
On Monday, the league said the delay in testing results for the previous three teams was due to the July 4 holiday delivery disruptions.
4:05 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
US Health Department is launching testing sites in Covid-19 hotspots around the US
From CNN's Curt Devine
In response to surges in coronavirus cases, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday the launch of new testing sites in three hotspots — Jacksonville, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Edinburg, Texas. The sites will offer 5,000 tests per city each day, according to an HHS press release.
On a call with reporters Tuesday, US Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir acknowledged that wait times for test results at commercial labs are generally increasing, though he said the US is now doing an “unprecedented” level of tests and is averaging more than 600,000 per day.
Three large testing labs have reported increased wait times for test results.
Giroir said test turnaround times in Montana and the District of Columbia are averaging four to five days, whereas other states have shorter average waits.
“We did anticipate that the lab capacity would at some point in time come close to reaching a max. I’m not saying it’s at a max now, but we are certainly pushing the frontiers,” said Giroir, who emphasized that while testing is an essential component of the fight against the virus, it’s not the most important.
“The most critical factor is personal discipline. It’s the physical distancing, wear a mask, avoid crowds,” Giroir said.
Giroir said greater availability of rapid “point of care” tests in comings months should lower the burden on some laboratories. He said he expects that by August or September, the point-of-care test market will grow to 10 to 20 million tests per month, though he said such tests are slightly less sensitive than lab-based tests.
3:58 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
Arkansas reports increase in hospitalizations due to Covid-19
From CNN’s Janine Mack
Arkansas saw the largest jump in hospitalizations for a single day with 32 people hospitalized, bringing the statewide total to 369, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during a news conference Tuesday.
The state reported at least 24,512 cases of coronavirus and at least 301 deaths, according to Hutchinson. Additionally, the state reported at least 259 new cases of Covid-19 and nine deaths over the last 24 hours.
“We've got to be able to reduce our hospitalizations,” Hutchinson said. “You do that by self-discipline, following the guidelines and supporting each other as we go through this.”
Hutchinson also said new unemployment claims are trending downward.
“We've dispersed about $330 million dollars as a state so we are seeing those funds move, and hopefully that's getting into the pockets of those who needed it, so desperately,” said Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston.
Preston added that Arkansas is seeing an uptick in unemployment identify fraud, with 14,000 accounts flagged within the pandemic unemployment cases, and another 6,000 in regular unemployment fraud.
He added that they are investigating these unemployment fraud cases.
4:48 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
White House pandemic coordinator surprised that coronavirus hit wealthy countries so hard
From CNN’s Andrea Kane
White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Tuesday that several aspects of the coronavirus pandemic remain surprising and unusual.
“I think what surprised all of us in the developed world is how much of an impact this virus, and this respiratory pandemic, is having disproportionately on high income and upper-middle income countries,” Birx said at an online event put on by the Atlantic Council to discuss the shaping the post-Covid world.
“Having worked globally for my most of my adult life, to have a situation where we always were worried about resource-limited settings and fragile health systems, that this is a virus with the highest mortality in high income and upper-middle income countries –– that was unusual and it remains unusual,” she said.
Birx also said no one anticipated the community spread in the 18- to 35-year-old age group.
“I think that this is an age group that was so good and so disciplined through March and April, but when they saw people out and about on social media, they all went out and about. So, we right now have a really significant cases in people under 45," she said.