July 8 coronavirus news

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3:40 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Beijing continues to report zero new coronavirus cases since wholesale food market outbreak 

From journalist Vanesse Chan in Hong Kong 

A medical worker wearing a protective suit takes a swab at a temporary test station on July 6, in Beijing.
A medical worker wearing a protective suit takes a swab at a temporary test station on July 6, in Beijing. Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Beijing reported zero new coronavirus cases on Tuesday -- marking the second consecutive day without any new infections in the Chinese capital since the Xinfadi wholesale food market cluster was discovered on June 11, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said today.

Meanwhile, China continued to report a single-digit rise in new Covid-19 cases in the mainland as seven new imported cases were registered on Tuesday, which is one less than the day before. 

Out of the new cases, four were reported in Inner Mongolia, and one each in Shanxi, Guangdong and Yunnan, the NHC said. 

There were no new coronavirus-related deaths recorded in the past day. 

Six asymptomatic cases were reported on Tuesday, the health authority said, adding that 117 asymptomatic patients are still under medical observation.

3:48 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Police fire tear gas at protesters in Serbian capital

From CNN’s Milena Veselinovic

Protesters scuffle with police in front of the National Assembly building in Belgrade, on July 7,  as Serbian police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters angry at the return of a weekend coronavirus curfew.
Protesters scuffle with police in front of the National Assembly building in Belgrade, on July 7, as Serbian police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters angry at the return of a weekend coronavirus curfew. Oliver Bunic/AFP/Getty Images

Police in the Serbian capital Belgrade fired tear gas at protesters demonstrating against the country's President Aleksandar Vucic after he announced a weekend-long curfew to try to combat a surge in coronavirus cases.

Video from the scene showed at least several hundred demonstrators gathered around Serbia's Parliament where scuffles erupted, prompting riot police to fire thick plumes of tear gas. 

Some protesters also threw objects at the police, video showed.

On Tuesday, Serbia recorded its highest daily death toll from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, with the country's President calling the situation in Belgrade “alarming."

But protesters told CNN affiliate N1 they were angry because the government allowed the virus to spike out of control by lifting most restrictions in early May, meaning bars and nightclubs were able to operate at full capacity. 

The protesters also said the government lifted restrictions in order to hold a general election in June -- the first Europe country to do so during the pandemic. Campaign rallies – with little or no social distancing – were held.

As they surrounded the Parliament building in central Belgrade, protesters chanted "arrest Vucic" and "treason." A small group of protesters managed to enter the Parliament's lobby before they were pushed out by the police.

The Balkan nation initially implemented one of Europe's strictest lockdowns to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak, with nightly and weekend-long curfews across the country and over 65s banned from leaving their homes. 

3:15 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Gravedigger takes Covid-19 more seriously than Brazil's President

 From CNN's Bill Weir in São Paulo

Adenilson Costa has worked at the Vila Formosa graveyard for a quarter of a century and he says he has never seen the fresh graves fill up so fast.

It's the largest cemetery in Latin America, but since coronavirus came to Brazil, it isn't big enough.

Families are hustled through funerals, Costa said, each given no more than 10 or 15 minutes to say goodbye so the cemetery can manage up to 80 burials a day at this site on the outskirts of Sao Paulo.

"That makes us very shocked, very sad, because it is the last greeting they will give to the loved one that they lost and they do not have time," Costa said.

He spoke on a momentous day for Brazil -- a day when the Health Ministry announced more than 45,000 new cases of Covid-19 in the country, one of them the President, Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro has spent months downplaying the spread of the lethal virus, even as Brazil became the country with the second-most cases -- and deaths -- behind only the United States.

And while gravedigger Costa is shocked by the rate of death, Bolsonaro told many of his citizens they had nothing to worry about, as he announced he himself had the virus.

Read the full story:

2:56 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

"Emerging evidence" of airborne transmission of coronavirus, WHO says

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

A woman wearing a face mask walks past a Boardwalk store with signs warning patrons of mask requirements on July 3, in Wildwood, New Jersey.
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a Boardwalk store with signs warning patrons of mask requirements on July 3, in Wildwood, New Jersey. Mark Makela/Getty Images

The World Health Organization confirmed there is “emerging evidence” of airborne transmission of the coronavirus.

It comes after 239 scientists published a letter urging the agency to be more forthcoming about the likelihood that people can catch the virus from droplets floating in the air.

“We acknowledge that there is emerging evidence in this field, as in all other fields regarding the Covid-19 virus and pandemic and therefore we believe that we have to be open to this evidence and understand its implications regarding the modes of transmission and also regarding the precautions that need to be taken,” said Dr. Benedetta Alleganzi, WHO Technical Lead for Infection Prevention and Control, during a briefing on Tuesday.

Infectious disease epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkove, with WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said many of the letter’s signatories are engineers, “which adds to growing knowledge about the importance of ventilation."

“We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of Covid-19, as well as droplet. We've looked at fomites. We’ve looked at fecal oral. We’ve looked at mother to child. We’ve looked at animal to human, of course as well,” Van Kerkove said.

She said the WHO is working on a scientific brief summarizing the current knowledge around transmission of the coronavirus, which should be available in the coming weeks.

Alleganzi cautioned that more research is still needed on Covid-19 transmission.

“These are fields of research that are really growing and for which there is some evidence emerging but is not definitive,” she said. 

2:30 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Trump leans into old failures in push to reopen schools as virus roars

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

US President Donald Trump participates in an event in the East Room at the White House on July 7 in Washington, DC.
US President Donald Trump participates in an event in the East Room at the White House on July 7 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's new push to open schools shows he's learned nothing from calamities sparked by his demands for premature state openings. 

The coronavirus pandemic is again rearing out of control, rising in a majority of states as a new warning comes that more than 200,000 Americans could be dead by Election Day. 

But Trump barreled forward anyway, failing to offer detailed proposals for how schools could open safely next month even as he admitted he planned to crank up pressure on governors to do what he wants.

He also delivered a fresh rebuke to his government's top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who had dismissed the President's discredited claims that the US has the world's lowest mortality rate.

And Trump conjured another wishful prediction: that the worsening battle against the virus, which has already killed 130,000 Americans and infected 3 million, would be far less serious within weeks.

Schools: Trump's self-serving implication that his opponents want to keep schools closed to hurt him politically ignores the complicated concerns that administrators, teachers and parents harbor over the prospect of schools staying closed -- and the dangers that are inherent in getting classes up and running again.

Economy: The US economy is now threatened by a second slump if the virus gets so bad that states and cities are forced back into lockdown. Trump's administration falls short on all those key strategies and even now is ignoring best practices and the evidence of what worked elsewhere in a bid to crank up the economy, deemed vital to the President's reelection hopes.

2:21 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

The US is about to reach 3 million coronavirus cases. Here's what happened in the days leading up to it

From CNN's Nicole Chavez

The coronavirus pandemic is ravaging parts of the US and affecting numerous aspects of American life. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases is nearing 3 million. 

While the future of the pandemic in the US is still unclear, here's what has happened in the last few days.

Trump addressed crowds at Mount Rushmore: During his remarks, the US President mentioned the virus once, at the very top of his remarks, thanking those working to fight it.

Beaches were packed for the Fourth of July: Some Americans altered their traditional Fourth of July celebrations while others flocked to beaches to enjoy the holiday weekend. 

People have waited several hours to get tested: Covid-19 testing capacity has increased considerably since March but the recent surge of cases is causing long lines to get tested and slow results.

Some hospitals reached capacity: Dozens of intensive care units at Florida hospitals near Miami, Orlando and Tampa have hit capacity and there are concerns that more hospitals could be next.

A debate over school reopenings has emerged: Florida schools have been ordered to reopen in August but teachers in some of the state's largest school districts are pushing back.

MLS is coming back despite coronavirus concerns: Major League Soccer's MLS is Back Tournament kicks off on Wednesday after more than a dozen people, including FC Dallas and Nashville SC players have tested positive for the virus.

Read the full story:

1:37 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Australian Prime Minister says coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne is serious but not surprising

From CNN's Anna Coren in Hong Kong and Sugam Pokharel in Atlanta 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media on June 29, in Sydney.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media on June 29, in Sydney. Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the latest coronavirus outbreak in the city of Melbourne is "particularly serious" but added that it is "not surprising and that's why we need to continue to focus on our effort and work together." 

“We will prevail and we will get on top of it, and we will protect the rest of the country,” the Prime Minister said at a press conference Wednesday. 

As Melbourne prepares to go into lockdown from midnight Wednesday, Morrison said, “We're all Melbournians now when it comes to the challenges we face.”

More than 800 federal public servants are helping with the door-to-door health effort in the state of Victoria, he announced. 

Morrison said he will be taking a proposal to the National Cabinet to reduce the number of international flights arriving in the country.

1:05 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Fauci says he’s "strongly in favor" of local mask mandates

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears a face covering as he listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears a face covering as he listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30. Al Drago/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US's top infectious disease expert, said he’s “strongly in favor” of local mask mandates to help control the spread of the coronavirus.

“When you look at what we can do that we know works, it’s the use of masks, physical distance and avoiding crowds,” Fauci said at a press conference on Tuesday with Sen. Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat.

“And I think to the extent in which this would be acceptable in the community, I am strongly in favor of mandating. I don’t like an authoritarian federal government, but at the local level, if governors and others mandate the use of masks when you have an outbreak, I think that would be important,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

As of Monday, 35 states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico, had some type of mask requirement order in place as coronavirus cases surge in parts of the United States. Hospital ICUs are near capacity in some areas, including Florida and Texas.

Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said he’d like to see consistency in using face coverings to slow the spread of the deadly virus.  

“Individual mandates, wherever they come from, I think are important because when people get a signal that you may or may not want to wear a mask, which means it may or may not be helpful, that's a very confusing signal,” he said.

“So, if you’re saying it doesn’t matter whether you put it on or take it off, you're giving a wrong, mixed signal. The signal should be: Wear a mask. Period.” 

12:44 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Fauci warns of a "false complacency" from lower coronavirus death rate

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30. Al Drago/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned against a false sense of security from the decreasing coronavirus mortality rate in the United States.

“It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert cautioned in a press conference on Tuesday with Sen. Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat. 

“There’s so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus, don’t get yourself into false complacency,” Fauci urged.

Fauci, the director of the National Institutes on Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the comment as the White House repeatedly pointed to the falling death rate from Covid-19 cases as proof the virus is under control. Coronavirus cases have actually surged in states across the South and Southwest and hospitals in some areas are reaching ICU capacity.

Read the full story: