July 8 coronavirus news

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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:

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

Latin America and the Caribbean surpass 3 million Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Chandler Thornton and Claudia Dominguez in Atlanta

Nurses transfer a coronavirus patient to the Critical Patients Unit, at Barros Luco Hospital on June 24 in Santiago, Chile. Martin
Nurses transfer a coronavirus patient to the Critical Patients Unit, at Barros Luco Hospital on June 24 in Santiago, Chile. Martin Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

Latin American and Caribbean countries have recorded more than 3 million Covid-19 cases combined as of Tuesday evening, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The following 33 countries are included in this region:

Brazil; Peru; Chile; Mexico; Ecuador; Colombia; Argentina--Dominican Republic; Panama; Bolivia; Guatemala; Honduras; Haiti; El Salvador; Venezuela; Cuba; Nicaragua-; Costa Rica; Paraguay; Uruguay; Jamaica; Guyana; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; The Bahamas; Barbados; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Antigua and Barbuda'; Grenada; Belize; Saint Lucia; Dominica; and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The combined total stands at 3,010,954 confirmed cases, according to JHU's tally.

12:01 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

56 Florida hospital ICUs have hit capacity

From CNN’s Rosa Flores, Sara Weisfeldt, Nicole Chavez and Madeline Holcombe

The worsening coronavirus pandemic hit a series of somber peaks across the United States on Tuesday, renewing fears that more hospitals could be overloaded with Covid-19 patients.

At least 56 intensive care units in Florida hospitals reached capacity on Tuesday, state officials said. Another 35 hospitals show ICU bed availability of 10% or less, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration in that state. 

As nearly 3 million confirmed coronavirus cases were reported in the US, the need for testing has increased. That has led federal officials to set up new testing sites in Florida, Louisiana and Texas. But major diagnostic companies have said they are facing testing delays.

Hospitals in Texas and Florida are flooded with critical Covid-19 patients and some local and state officials have made face coverings mandatory.

Last week, the country averaged just under 50,000 new cases daily -- the highest rate recorded, and twice as high as a month ago.

Read the full story:

12:00 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Mexico shows no signs of slowing down coronavirus spread after another day of high numbers

From journalist Karol Suarez in Mexico City and CNN's Tatiana Arias in Atlanta

Vendors in an appliance parts supply store tend to clients from behind a plastic sheet to reduce the spread of coronavirus, in central Mexico City, on Monday, July 6.
Vendors in an appliance parts supply store tend to clients from behind a plastic sheet to reduce the spread of coronavirus, in central Mexico City, on Monday, July 6. Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Mexico reported 6,258 confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, as the country shows no signs of stemming the spread of the virus despite continuing with reopening measures.

With Tuesday's increase, the nationwide total of confirmed Covid-19 cases stands at 268,008, according to the Mexican Health Ministry.

The ministry also reported 895 new deaths, nearly doubling Monday's increase. Mexico's death toll from the virus stands at 32,014, the world's fifth-highest total.

Since Mexico entered its "new normal" phase of reopening on June 1, the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths has almost tripled in the country.

According to official data tallied by CNN, the number of coronavirus cases in Mexico has risen by 180% since June 1, and the number of deaths has also increased by 206% during the same period of time.

12:00 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Coronavirus cases in Victoria climb by 134 as Melbourne prepares to go into lockdown

From Angus Watson in Albury-Wodonga, Australia and Sophie Jeong in Seoul

Lines of Healthcare professionals are seen entering the North Melbourne Public Housing tower complex on July 8, in Melbourne.
Lines of Healthcare professionals are seen entering the North Melbourne Public Housing tower complex on July 8, in Melbourne. Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

The Australian state of Victoria recorded 134 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections in the state to 2,942, Premier Daniel Andrews announced Wednesday. 

Among the new cases, 123 are under investigation while 11 were linked to contained outbreaks.

A total of 75 people from the nine public housing towers in the city of Melbourne have tested positive, Andrews said, adding that more than one million tests have now been conducted in the state since January 1. 

Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, a regional area of Victoria, will go into the Stage 3 lockdown from 11:59 p.m, meaning residents will no longer be allowed to leave their homes unless it's for grocery shopping, caregiving, exercise or work, for six weeks, the premier announced on Tuesday.

"I think a sense of complacency has crept into us as we let our frustrations get the better of us. I think that each one know someone who has not been following the rules as well as they should have. I think each of us know that we have got no choice by to take very, very difficult steps," Andrews said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the state government said Victoria Police will also “dramatically” increase police presence in and around metropolitan Melbourne to enforce the lockdown, including 264 Australian Defense Force members assisting with on-ground operations. 

Police will continue to make house visits and patrol public places all over Victoria, according to the statement.

Victoria Police have undertaken 810 spot checks in the past 24 hours at homes, businesses and non-essential services across the state, the government said.

11:53 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Coronavirus lockdown measures extended in Colombia

From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon in Cucuta

A health worker conducts a coronavirus test on July 6 in Bogota, Colombia.
A health worker conducts a coronavirus test on July 6 in Bogota, Colombia. Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Colombia's President Ivan Duque extended lockdown measures until at least August 1, as the country reported a record number of new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

The announcement on Colombian television came as the country registered 149 new coronavirus deaths and 4,213 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. This is the highest daily count of new cases since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data collected by the Colombian Ministry of Health.

Duque also announced that mayors in cities less impacted by the pandemic will have the authority to allow partial reopenings of restaurants, museums and churches starting July 15.

The government will also evaluate allowing domestic flights in selected cities, Duque said.

Colombia has recorded a total of 124,494 coronavirus cases, according to the Ministry of Health. The majority of cases are reported in the capital city of Bogota and the northern Atlantic coast.

12:22 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

California's coronavirus hospitalizations remain at all-time high

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Coronavirus hospitalizations in California are reaching new levels, with nearly 6,000 Covid-19 patients.

This is a 3.4% one-day increase as almost 200 more patients were admitted. There are also a record number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units, according to data from California Department of Public Health.

CDPH is recording at least 6,448 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, adding 111 fatalities in today’s report.

The positivity rate in California over the past two weeks stands at 6.8% with about 4.9 million tests conducted to date.

NOTE: These numbers were released by the California Department of Public Health, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project

12:22 a.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations in Ohio are up, governor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Ohio reported 948 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours -- a number that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says is “down a little bit” from where it’s been “but certainly is up significantly from where it was three weeks ago.”

That is above the 21-day average of 804 which continues to increase “as these numbers continue to go up,” he said at a news conference Tuesday. 

The deaths are up over the average, with 43 reported in the last 24 hours, DeWine said 

Hospitalizations are “significantly up” with a report of 134 in the last 24 hours “as well as the ICU admissions,” he said. 

Hospital admissions are “creeping up,” he said, adding that is “obviously of some …concern.”

Some context: Ohio is one of at least 31 states that have showed an upward trend in average new daily cases, CNN reported.