Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are declining in Canada, prime minister says
From CNN’s James Froio
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are declining across the country.
“The situation is stabilizing in Canada because Canadians did their part and followed public health instructions. But we still have to be very careful. Things can change quickly … we still have some hotspots in some parts of the country, including in long-term care facilities and agricultural work settings, so as we continue to gradually reopen the economy, we have to remain vigilant,” Trudeau said.
"Canada has one of the most ambitious and comprehensive plans to counter the economic impacts of this pandemic," he added.
Trudeau said they increased financial support to “vulnerable groups like seniors and students” and those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, as well as provided loans to businesses.
1:27 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Spain's outbreaks present "a worrying situation," health minister says
From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro
Spanish Health Minister, Salvador Illa, told a Catalan Radio on Wednesday, that the outbreaks in the country present "a worrying situation."
"We know there are outbreaks, all countries that have managed to control the pandemic have them, as it is the situation in Spain. We monitor them with concern and daily," he said.
Spain registered 257 new cases on Wednesday, over half of them linked to outbreaks in Catalonia, Aragon, Galicia and Andalusia.
The total number of cases in the country is at least 252,513. The government's data also shows that four people died from coronavirus in Spain in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 28,396.
1:32 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
New Jersey makes changes to allow for more restaurants to have outdoor dining
From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is making changes to allow for more restaurants to have outdoor dining.
The state will be explicitly allowing areas with fixed roofs with at least two open sides, comprising at least 50% of the total wall space, to be considered outdoors “in light of their airflow.”
He reiterated today, “we are just not ready to open up indoor dining.”
1:26 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
United warning 45% of frontline workforce could be furloughed this fall
From CNN’s Pete Muntean
Clobbered by the coronavirus pandemic, United Airlines is sending warning letters nearly half of its frontline workforce that they could be furloughed when restrictions on a federal bailout expire October 1.
The world's third-largest airline says 36,000 workers — including 15,000 flight attendants, 11,000 customer service and gate agents, 5,550 maintenance employees and 2,250 pilots — are about to receive 60-day mass layoff notices. The reductions are in addition to furloughs of office-based employees the company previously said it would cut.
"The reality is that United simply cannot continue at our current payroll level past October 1 in an environment where travel demand is so depressed," the company said in a message to employees.
The Wednesday announcement paints a grim picture for an air travel recovery only days after United announced it would ramp up its schedule in August.
The airline is operating only a quarter of flights compared to last year and says that planes are, on average, 55% full. United executives say demand for air travel has slipped recently in markets such as New York, where bookings at its Newark hub dropped as Covid cases surged.
United executives told reporters the company has done everything it can to protect employees — urging them to take early retirement and voluntary separation plans and aggressively raising millions in new money — but the airline is still hemorrhaging $40 million each day.
The airline, which reached an agreement this week with the Treasury Department to tap a loan fund, is also not counting on another round of relief to pass Congress.
“We do not feel like we can count on additional federal government support to survive and we have to take steps to protect the company and protect the long-term interest of the company and the prospects for united employees,” a company executive said.
1:09 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Here are the latest coronavirus updates from New York state
From CNN's Melanie Schuman
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new details on reopening plans and provided updates on coronavirus case numbers at a briefing today.
Here's what you need to know:
Schools: By July 31, local school districts across the state will have to submit their plans including protocols and how they will reopen. On August 1-7, the state will announce a decision on whether or not those schools reopen.
Malls: Beginning Friday, malls can open in phase four regions so long as they have enhanced HVAC filtration system and measures in place. The Department of Health is asking for malls to install MERV-13 filters or the highest compatible filter for their current system which can filter out coronavirus.
Hospitalizations: There were 841 hospitalizations across New York state as of Tuesday and 97 intubations – the first time the latter number is under 100 and first time this low since March 16. There were 11 deaths on July 7 — nine in hospitals and two in nursing homes.
Testing: In New York City, 1.2% of those tested over the last five days were positive. Cuomo debunked the theory that there are more positive cases across the country because of testing, citing the rise in hospitalizations.
Quarantine list: Nineteen states are on a quarantine list, including the three additions announced Tuesday – Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut issued a travel advisory last month that requires people arriving from states with high coronavirus rates to quarantine for 14 days.
One thing to note: The numbers were released by the state Department of Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
1:04 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
How the US went from zero coronavirus cases to 3 million in 170 days
That's almost two times more than the second hardest-hit nation, Brazil, which has reported more than 1.6 million cases.
Here's a quick timeline of how quickly the virus spread in the US:
Jan. 21: The US reports its first reported case.
99 days later: At least 1 million Americans have been infected
43 days later: The US reports more than 2 million cases
28 days later: The US reached 3 million cases
12:53 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Pence says White House will be "respectful" of states that can't reopen schools
From CNN's Kevin Liptak
The White House will be "very respectful" of states and local communities who determine they cannot fully reopen schools, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday.
Despite President Trump's insistence that all schools reopen, and his vow to pressure governors to do that, Pence acknowledged there could be places where case counts prevent a full return to classrooms.
"I think we would account for the fact that while we hope every school in America is able to open this fall, there may be some states and local communities that given cases or positivity in that community may adjust to either a certain set of days or certain limitations," Pence said.
"We’ll be very respectful of that," he said, adding it was "imperative" that states "take steps to get kids back into the classroom to the fullest extent possible."
He said the federal government would work with localities where outbreaks prevent a full return to in-person schooling.
Asked about Trump's threat earlier Wednesday to withhold funding to schools that do not reopen, Pence noted that most education funding comes from states but said that in discussions with Congress about new funding, "we’re going to be looking for a way to give states a strong incentive and encouragement to get kids back to school."
12:46 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
CDC director says guidance is not intended to be used to keep schools closed
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said agency guidance on schools should not be utilized to keep schools closed.
“The guidance that CDC continues to put out for schools K-12 and higher learning is intentional for reopening and keeping our schools open,” Redfield said.
The CDC will issue new guidance on reopening schools next week.
“I want to make it very clear that what is not the intent of CDC's guidelines is to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed,” he said.
Redfield said his agency is willing to work with individual school districts to advise them on the different strategies outlined in the updated guidance.
“We’re prepared to work with all the school districts and schools to help them facilitate their development of their own unique plan to accomplish that,” he said.
1:25 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Gov. Cuomo on Trump's "threat" about school funding: "You're not going to bully New Yorkers"
From CNN's Melanie Schuman
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo brushed off President Trump’s “threat” about defunding states if governors don’t reopen schools.
“You’re not going to bully New Yorkers. That’s not going to happen, right?" he said.
The state spends about $70 billion on education each year and only $3 billion comes from the federal government. Those federal funds go to the students most in need, according to Jim Malatras, president of the State University of New York’s Empire State College and working on the governor’s task force for reopening.
Expanding on potential schools reopening in the fall, Cuomo said specific district plans can be denied, accepted or districts can be asked for alterations.
Following those decisions, the state will make a global decision as to whether any school district can reopen.
He said it’s possible to have a regional reopening and he acknowledged concerns about teachers’ safety.
“When we came to the reopening of the economy, I’m said I’m not going to put someone in a dangerous situation. There is no money on the planet that can pay for a life as far as I’m concerned so it’s a balance and the same is with schools,” Cuomo said Wednesday.
Responding to a reporter’s question about greenlighting the proposed New York City plan for reopening, Cuomo said ideally you would make the decision the night before. “I don’t have the luxury of waiting for the night before. Our institutional, systemic drop-dead date is the first week in August,” he said.