$140 fine for not wearing a mask in Australian state as Melbourne cases rise
From CNN’s Sol Han
Face masks will be mandatory in parts of the Australian state of Victoria from midnight on Wednesday as cases in the region continue to rise.
Daniel Andrews, Premier of Australia’s Victoria State, said Sunday that people within metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire would be fined 200 Australian dollars ($140) if caught not wearing a face covering.
Andrews said Victoria had recorded 363 new Covid-19 cases Saturday, bringing the state's total to 5,696 cases.
“We are going to be wearing masks in Victoria, and potentially in other parts of the country for a very long time,” Andrews said.
“There is no vaccine to this widely infectious virus. And it’s a simple thing but it’s about changing habit and it’s about it becoming a simple part of your routine.”
11:13 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Canada denies Toronto Blue Jays' request to play home games due to pandemic
From CNN's Amir Vera, Laura Ly and Homero De La Fuente
In another blow to sporting events in the age of coronavirus, Canada is not allowing the Toronto Blue Jays to play home games in Toronto due to the pandemic, according to a statement from the country's minister of immigration, refugees, and citizenship.
The Canadian government determined that "the cross-border travel required for MLB regular season play would not adequately protect Canadians' health and safety," according to a statement from Marco E. L. Mendicino, the country's immigration minister.
The Blue Jays would also be required to play in locations where the risk of Covid-19 transmission remains high, Mendicino said.
"Canada has been able to flatten the curve in large part because of the sacrifices Canadians have made," Mendicino said. "We understand professional sports are important to the economy and to Canadians. At the same time, our government will continue to take decisions at the border on the basis of the advice of our health experts in order to protect the health and safety of all Canadians."
Days before India lifted its nationwide lockdown on June 1, the country's health ministry issued a press statement with a triumphant headline. "15 countries with highest number of Covid-19 cases, with almost same population as India, have reported 34 times cases and 83 times deaths as reported in India," it said.
Fewer than 60 days later, India has reached one million Covid-19 cases. It is now third on the Johns Hopkins University tally of country cases, following the US and Brazil. Far from flattening the curve, India's graph of transmission is swinging skyward like a Mo Salah free kick.
More and more Indians are disinvesting from hope, choosing to secede to gated republics and invest in paid-for private solutions.
Indians pay for over 60% of heath care costs from their savings -- some even borrow and land in penury . More parents are also opting for private schools, with nearly 40% of students enrolled in non-public education. Water tankers, air purifiers and inverters are other ubiquitous essentials of living.
Data paints a damning picture of governance where it matters the most. India is trapped between density of population and poverty and deficit of investment.
Successive regimes have taken refuge in the diffusion of authority between federal and state governments and evaded accountability. This has been enabled by the nature of public discourse, which is riveted by emotion and rhetoric rather than a reflection on realities.
Informed choices help -- in combating pandemics and in improving quality of life. India's voters need to reward attention to delivery of services and punish its neglect.
West Virginia University announces 28 football players have tested positive for Covid-19
The University of West Virginia announced Saturday that 28 members of its football program tested positive for Covid-19.
The school has tested 518 people since June, resulting in 41 positive results.
As well as the 28 members of the football program who tested positive, there were also five cases in men’s basketball, six in women’s basketball and one in women’s soccer. One staff member also tested positive.
In a statement, the university said: “All individuals entered self-isolation for 14 days at the time of their positive result and contact tracing was initiated.”
10:04 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Austin deaths rose by a third in the past 2 weeks, says mayor
From CNN's Kay Jones
Coronavirus fatalities around Austin, Texas, rose by a third during the past two weeks, Mayor Steve Adler told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Saturday night.
"The people that had gotten sicker more than three weeks ago, before we did the masking, are now passing away in my hospitals," Adler said. "A third of my total deaths in my city have happened over the last two weeks."
Travis County, which includes the city of Austin, has now seen 63 deaths from Covid-19 since July 3. The county has recorded 196 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began, according to Texas Department of State Health Services.
Adler said Austin was an example of why wearing a mask is so important.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a mask mandate on July 2 for any county with 20 or more positive cases.
8:42 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Mexico reports record number of new Covid-19 cases
From journalist Karol Suarez in Mexico City and CNN’s Taylor Barnes in Atlanta
Mexico’s health ministry reported a record 7,615 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the country’s total to 338,913.
Speaking at a Saturday evening press conference, Mexican health officials reported 578 new Covid-19 deaths, raising the country’s death toll to 38,888.
8:39 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Brazil reports more than 900 new Covid-19 deaths
From CNN’s Taylor Barnes in Atlanta and journalist Rodrigo Pedroso in São Paulo.
Brazil’s health ministry reported 912 new Covid-19 deaths on Saturday, raising the country’s death toll to 78,772.
The ministry reported 28,532 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the country’s total to 2.07 million.
The ongoing outbreak is partly driven by a rise in cases in Brazil’s south and interior. That includes states like Santa Catarina, where the Gov. Carlos Moises announced new lockdown measures in several regions on Friday due to what he called “very grave” public health risk. In Mato Grosso, about 90 percent of ICU beds are occupied, according to the state government.
7:07 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020
CDC updates its guidance for people with Covid-19 who are isolating at home
They offer one strategy based on time and symptoms, and another approach based on testing.
Someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 and has symptoms may discontinue isolation 10 days after the symptoms first appeared so long as 24 hours have passed since the last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and if symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath have improved.
People with Covid-19 symptoms isolating at home and with access to tests can leave isolation if a fever has passed without the use of medication, if there is an improvement in symptoms, and if tests taken more than 24 hours apart come back negative, according to the guidelines.
The revised guidelines were posed online Friday. The CDC also updated guidance for people who are in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 but who don't have symptoms. The agency recommended two options: a time-based strategy and a test-based strategy.
A person without symptoms can discontinue isolation 10 days after the first positive test and if they have not subsequently developed symptoms.
"Because symptoms cannot be used to gauge where these individuals are in the course of their illness, it is possible that the duration of viral shedding could be longer or shorter than 10 days after their first positive test," the CDC warned.
Viral shedding means a person can pass the virus to someone else.
If a person develops symptoms, then the symptom-based or test-based strategy should be used, according to the guidelines.
People who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic can also discontinue isolation if the results of two tests taken more than 24 hours apart come back negative.
The decision of ending isolation "should be made in the context of local circumstances," the CDC advised. Health care workers who are in close contact with vulnerable populations and people who are immunocompromised — which could prolong viral shedding after recovery — are recommended to isolate for longer.
The CDC noted the updated guidance may "appear in conflict" with the recommendations for people known to have been exposed to the virus. The agency recommends a 14-day quarantine after exposure, based on the time it takes to develop illness from the virus.
It is possible that a person known to be infected could leave isolation earlier than a person who is quarantined because of the possibility they are infected," the agency explained.
Previous guidance from May 3 had extended the home isolation period from seven to 10 days since symptoms first appeared or after the first positive test. The CDC said this update was made "based on evidence suggesting a longer duration of viral shedding."
The agency warned these recommendations "will prevent most, but cannot prevent all, instances of secondary spread."
"The risk of transmission after recovery is likely substantially less than that during illness; recovered persons will not be shedding large amounts of virus by this point, if they are shedding at all," the agency said.
6:50 p.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Miami-Dade County temporarily stops releasing some Covid-19 data
From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Dan Shepherd
The Miami-Dade County government has been releasing the county's daily and 14-day average Covid-19 positivity rate in a document the government calls "Moving to a New Normal Dashboard." But on Saturday, a full page of data was not released.
The information was displayed like this Friday:
CNN noticed Saturday the full page of data was omitted from the "Moving to a New Normal Dashboard" and asked the county about the omission. A statement from the Miami-Dade County mayor's office said county officials are meeting with statisticians from the state Health Department on Monday to go over discrepancies in the way the state and the county collect and report testing data.
"Once all agree on the appropriate parameters, Miami-Dade County will be updating the Daily Dashboard to ensure as much of an accurate measure as is statistically possible."