Two more US military personnel test positive in Japan
From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo
Two more U.S military personnel based on the Japanese island of Okinawa have tested positive the virus, according to officials in Okinawa prefecture.
Some 143 of US military personnel and their families in Japan have tested positive for the virus since July 1.
The latest cases were from Futenma base in Okinawa, while the other cases are spread across six U.S military facilities across Japan.
Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono said Friday he had asked the U.S. to test all military-related personnel arriving into the country, regardless of whether they were showing symptoms or not.
More: United States military personnel on the Okinawa are on virtual lockdown after dozens of cases emerged on several US Marine Corps bases there.
The lockdown order, issued last weekend, bans almost all off-base movement by the tens of thousands of US military personnel on the bases unless approved by an officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel or above.
4:08 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Hong Kong police apprehend knife-wielding man who allegedly refused to wear a mask
From journalist Isaac Yee in Hong Kong
A man brandishing a 5-inch knife, and accused of refusing to wear a mask, has been arrested by Hong Kong police officers.
According to the police report, a 47-year-old man argued and threatened a bus driver about wearing a mask onboard, leading to police being called.
When officers arrived on the scene, they said the man was holding knife. After officers issued a verbal warning, one police officer drew his gun while another officer deployed pepper spray, according to the police report.
Police said the man was arrested under criminal intimidation and possession of an offensive weapon. The man was not injured but was taken to the Tai Po Nethersole Hospital for an examination.
Members of the public are required to wear masks while using public transportation, according to a new law implemented Wednesday.
3:49 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Australian activewear company fined $28,000 for advertising "antivirus" garments
From CNN's Sandi Sidhu in Hong Kong
An Australian activewear company has been fined $28,000 for advertising their garments as "anti-virus activewear."
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), part of the Australian Department of Health, issued three infringement notices to the Brisbane clothing company Lorna Jane.
Lorna Jane "allegedly claimed, on its website, that its 'anti-virus activewear' prevents and protects against infectious diseases, implying it is effective against COVID-19," according to a TGA statement.
"This kind of advertising could have detrimental consequences for the Australian community, creating a false sense of security and leading people to be less vigilant about hygiene and social distancing," Adj. Professor John Skerritt, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health, said in the TGA statement.
This comes as the country attempts to contain the second wave of coronavirus cases in the state of Victoria. The country has seen 11,441 infections and 118 deaths since the outbreak began, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
3:48 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
A US army base is requiring all personnel to wear face masks
From CNN’s Janine Mack
An army base in Fort Campbell on the Kentucky–Tennessee border has ordered all personnel to wear face masks inside its facilities.
"Effective immediately, all personnel will adhere to mandatory mask wear inside all facilities on Fort Campbell. Personnel may temporarily remove their masks to consume food and beverages in Dining Facilities and food courts; while alone in an individual room or workspace; or while conducting physical training in the Physical Fitness Centers. Personnel conducting physical training will have a mask on their person. Personnel not in compliance may be asked to vacate any facility on Fort Campbell,” officials said in a tweet.
3:11 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Of 217 new coronavirus cases in the Australian state of Victoria, 206 came from unknown sources
From CNN's Isaac Yee
The Australian state of Victoria reported 217 new coronavirus cases over the past day, Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Saturday.
Of the new infections, 206 cases came from unknown sources and are under investigation, he added. Two deaths were also reported.
The Premier said Victorians should continue to stay at home, warning that police are “out in force" to fine those who break social distancing laws.
The new cases bring Victoria’s total number of infections to 5,353 -- of which 2,608 are active. The state's death toll stands at 34.
3:42 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan hospitalized after testing positive for Covid-19
From CNN's Swati Gupta
Bollywood actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter Aradhya were admitted to Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital Friday night, according to the city's authorities.
Her husband, Abhishek Bachchan, and father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan, were admitted to the same hospital in Mumbai last week after swab test results came back positive. Both are also famous actors in India.
2:33 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Tokyo just reported its highest number of daily infections since the coronavirus outbreak began
From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki
Japan recorded 596 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the country's health ministry said in a statement.
Of the new cases, 293 were discovered in Tokyo. This is the highest number of daily infections reported in Japan's capital since the outbreak began.
Saitama prefecture, which neighbors Tokyo, announced 51 new cases -- the highest in that area since the country's state of emergency was lifted on May 25, the ministry said.
However Japan reported no coronavirus deaths in the previous 24 hours.
2:16 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
New forecast projects more than 157,000 US coronavirus deaths by August 8
From CNN’s Ben Tinker
An ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects more than 157,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by August 8.
This week’s national forecast relies on 24 individual forecasts from outside institutions and researchers. The new projections, published Wednesday, forecast 157,204 deaths by August 8, with a possible range of 149,957 to 168,305 deaths.
"The state-level ensemble forecasts suggest that the number of new deaths over the next four weeks will likely exceed the number reported over the last four weeks in 22 states and 2 territories," the CDC says on its forecasting website. "The jurisdictions with the greatest likelihood of a larger number of deaths include: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, the Virgin Islands, and West Virginia."
Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections about a month into the future. The previous ensemble forecast, published last Thursday, projected roughly 147,000 coronavirus deaths by August 1.
At least 139,266 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
1:57 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
This expert is optimistic an "effective" coronavirus treatment will be available within 3 months
From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman
The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, said he’s “optimistic” an “effective treatment” for Covid-19 will be available in two to three months.
“There is a lot of progress in therapeutics,” Collins told CNN Friday. “We have two proven drugs -- remdesivir and dexamethasone, both proven in rigorous randomized control trials, which is the only way you really know if something works.”
What are they: Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that has been shown to reduce the amount of time people are ill with Covid-19. Dexamethasone is a steroid that may reduce the rate of deaths among seriously ill patients.
“And we're in the process of starting, just in the very near future, clinical trials on other compounds -- for instance, anticoagulants,” Collins said. “We know that people who get very sick, there's something that happens, the blood clots start forming and we could probably help them a lot if we tried to block that. And, maybe most exciting for therapeutics in my view, the use of monoclonal antibodies derived from people who have survived, who have made these antibodies that help them recover, and those can now be turned into products and those trials will get started very soon as well. “I'm optimistic, without being able to be confident completely, that we'll have something maybe as soon as two or three months from now, in terms of an effective treatment.”
What about a vaccine? Collins is also optimistic about the development of a successful vaccine by the end of the year.
“The first vaccine trial, as you probably heard, building on very successful preliminary data, will get started around about July 27 all across the southern part of the country where the virus is spreading and we're going to find out whether it works by asking 30,000 people to join," he said.
Collins says if one of the vaccine trials is successful, there will be “tens of millions of doses ready to go by the end of 2020, the end of the calendar year.”
“That’s never been done before at this speed. We’re not compromising on the safety. We'll be sure that they work, but if it does, we'll be ready to go … as soon as possible,” he added.
But Collins said he’s worried about what he sees as some Americans’ skepticism of vaccines, adding that it’s important for everyone to get the vaccine when it’s available.
“One of the things I'm worried about is there's a lot of skepticism in America about the vaccine and something like 25% of people say I'm not sure I would take that vaccine,” he said. “It'll be really critical to do that if we're going to develop the level of herd immunity across the country so that this doesn't come roaring back the next time, the next fall, the next summer. We won’t know."