Germany's Angela Merkel: Lies are "no way to fight the pandemic"
From CNN's Nadine Schmidt
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that "lies and disinformation" have emerged during the coronavirus pandemic and warned against allowing hatred to spread as the world battles the virus.
"We have seen lies and disinformation, and that is no way to fight the pandemic," she said yesterday at the European Parliament in Brussels.
She added the virus has highlighting the limits of ''fact-denying populism," saying, "The limits of populism and denial of basic truths are being laid bare."
Merkel went on to say, to applause, ''democracies need truth and transparency. This is what Europe sets apart and this is what Germany will stand up for during its EU presidency."
She urged the European Union to agree on the bloc’s Covid-19 recovery plan before the summer. “There is no time to lose. Only the weakest will suffer,” Merkel said.
Watch the moment:
9:28 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020
Florida's Walt Disney World resumes ticket sales 2 days before reopening begins
From CNN’s Natasha Chen
Two days before reopening two theme parks to the public during the height of a Florida coronavirus spike, Disney resumed the sale of new 2020 theme park tickets and hotel reservations for Walt Disney World.
Guests who purchase new tickets are required to select the dates they would like to visit and reserve their attendance in advance.
Annual passholders and people who had purchased tickets before the parks closed in March were able to reserve attendance before today.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks are currently holding annual passholder previews Thursday and Friday, and reopening to the public on Saturday at reduced capacity.
The resort’s two remaining theme parks — EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — will reopen next week.
9:28 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020
Bulgaria closes indoor nightclubs, bans spectators at sporting events as Covid-19 cases rise
From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite
Bulgaria is closing indoor nightclubs and will ban spectators at sports events due to the recent increase of coronavirus cases, the press office of the Health Ministry confirmed Thursday to CNN.
According to the order from the health minister, starting tomorrow, indoor discos, night clubs, piano bars and other similar venues will be closed to the public, the press office said.
Visits to outdoor discos, bars and pubs will be allowed but only with up to 50% of the total capacity.
Outdoor and indoor group celebrations are not allowed with more than 30 people, including weddings.
All group and individual sporting events of training and competitive nature, for all age groups, outdoors and indoors, will be held without an audience, the order reads.
9:44 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020
"Counterintuitive" to open up schools while Covid-19 cases are rising, Miami-Dade superintendent says
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said schools will not reopen at the end of August unless the county moves to phase two.
“We need a phase two to be able to reopen schools,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
“We are in phase one and should we transition to phase two, then we have a plan to bring students back to school five days a week while offering other options to parents as well,” he added.
Carvalho said that, despite the state order for schools to reopen, he was encouraged that federal officials said that districts facing limitations will be able to implement different strategies.
“Both federal and state guidelines basically dictate that any county, any community, in phase one is unable to open schools. That is the federal and state guideline at this point. I think it would be counterintuitive with positivity cases increasing, with restaurants just this week being shut down again, for us to pack up schools. It does not make sense,” Carvalho said.
The superintendent added that he thinks the state Department of Education will fight for federal resources that his schools require.
"I think it would be quite unfair for children in Miami-Dade, 73% of whom live at or below the poverty level, a huge number of them are still English-language learners, who have been in crisis to begin with, to be deprived of the necessary resources," Carvalho said.
Watch the interview:
9:08 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020
The health effects of Covid-19 go far beyond the virus, WHO says
From CNN's Naomi Thomas
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on world health stretch far beyond “the suffering caused by the virus itself,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during an address to member states in Geneva on Thursday.
The pandemic is affecting areas such as vaccinations for children, medication for diseases, refugee health and world hunger.
“It’s unraveling many of the gains we have made fighting some of the world’s most devastating diseases,” he said
Tedros said there are hundreds of millions of children who are at risk of missing routine vaccinations for diseases such as tuberculosis and measles. Many countries are also running low on HIV medications.
Refugees, who already face limited access to shelter, water and nutrition, he said, are among the most vulnerable.“Covid-19 could push them over the brink,” he said.
He also said that many people are now going hungry, and that poverty has become more visible during the time of the pandemic, citing estimates from the World Food Programme that global hunger could increase to more than 270 million people.
Countries are facing “a delicate balance between protecting their people and maintaining essential health services while minimizing social and economic damage and respecting human rights,” Tedros said.
8:48 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020
Another 1.3 million people applied for unemployment aid in the US last week
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe and Tami Luhby
Another 1.3 million people filed first-time claims for unemployment aid last week in the US, according to the Department of Labor.
Weekly jobless claims have been falling for more than three months since their peak in the last week of March. That's a good sign, because it means fewer people are finding themselves newly in need for benefits. But the claims remain stubbornly high and aren't trending downward as quickly as economists would like.
Continued claims, which count workers who have filed claims for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 18.1 million.
Economists have shifted their focus to continued claims earlier this summer, saying it's a better indicator of how many people are returning to work versus staying on benefits. But again the number is trending down slowly, and that doesn't bode well for the economic recovery.
Reopening plans: On top of that, many states have paused their economic reopening schedules following a rise in Covid-19 infections. That might keep people at home for longer, when they would have otherwise returned to work in later reopening phases.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's latest CFO survey found that the average surveyed business didn't expect to get back to its pre-pandemic employment level until the end of 2021.
9:31 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020
Here's what's in the CDC's current school guidelines
A day after Vice President Mike Pence said said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would revise its existing guidelines for reopening schools, the agency's director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said it would not edit them.
Redfield, however, did say that additional reference documents will be provided alongside the current guidelines.
Habits that reduce spread: The guidelines encourage hygiene, the use of cloth face coverings, and staying home when appropriate.
On scheduling and seating: The CDC recommends staggered scheduling, a back-up staffing plan and modified seating layouts to allow social distancing,
How schools will look: The guidelines call for physical barriers to be installed in some areas. Communal spaces should be closed.
New lunchtime rules: The CDC urges schools to "have children bring their own meals as feasible." If that's not possible, they should serve individually plated meals. Students should eat in classrooms instead of in a communal cafeterias, the guidelines say.
8:44 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020
ICU nurse who became sick with Covid-19 was treated in her own unit for 12 days
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
An ICU nurse who cared for coronavirus patients became sick with Covid-19 and spent 12 days in her intensive care unit.
Tanna Ingraham, a nurse at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, is recovering from coronavirus at home. She said it’s been a painful and scary experience, as the virus attacked her joints. She said she had shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, and a “barking, hacking cough.”
“I think honestly the worst moment that happened was when I realized that I was positive, and it was like literally the script just completely turned,” Ingraham told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
She said that being in her own ICU unit “made it harder” because of what she had seen firsthand.
Ingraham, who has two daughters, has been quarantined from them and they will not be reunited until July 25.
Watch the interview:
9:04 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020
CDC will not revise guidelines for schools reopening despite Trump criticism
From CNN's Naomi Thomas, Betsy Klein and Kevin Liptak
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the guidelines for reopening schools will not be revised, but additional reference documents will be provided.
“Our guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid basically communities that are trying to open K-through-12s,” Redfield said on Good Morning America Thursday. “It’s not a revision of the guidelines; it’s just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance we put forward.”
In response to comments about the guidelines being too tough or impractical, Redfield said this depends on how the guidelines are put together.
“Right now, we’re continuing to work with the local jurisdictions to how they want to take the portfolio of guidance that we’ve given to make them practical for their schools to reopen,” he said.
Redfield described the guidelines as “intentionally non-prescriptive,” and said that the range of guidelines given were to offer schools the option of what will work best for them.
Redfield said the CDC would work with any local jurisdiction on how best to use the guidelines to reopen their schools in the safest way, and that it would “personally sadden” him if people were to use the guidelines and concerns about them as a reason to stay closed.
“It’s a critical public health initiative right now to get these schools reopened and to do it safely,” Redfield said.
Some context: Redfield's comments come a day after President Trump tweeted Wednesday that he disagreed with CDC guidelines for safely reopening schools because they are "very tough" and "expensive."
During a press briefing a few hours later, Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC would issue new guidance on reopening schools next week. Both he and the CDC's director said the agency's recommendations should not be viewed as a barrier to returning children to classrooms.