Florida sets new Covid-19 death record for third straight day
From CNN's Tina Burnside
For the third day in a row, the state of Florida is reporting a record number of coronavirus related deaths.
On Thursday, the state reported 253 additional deaths, breaking the previous record of 216 deaths on Wednesday, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The statewide resident death toll is now 6,586.
The state is also reported at least 9,956 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state's total to 451,423.
10:33 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020
"No evidence" hydroxychloroquine works for treating Covid-19, Birx says
From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo
There is “no evidence” that hydroxychloroquine works for treating Covid-19, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on Thursday.
During an interview on "Fox & Friends," Birx was asked about the viral video that made several false claims about coronavirus, including that hydroxychloroquine, used in combination with zinc and Zithromax, is the cure for the virus.
Birx said science and medicine have "always been full of accounts like this. And that's why you do randomized clinical trials to actually be able to compare patient-to-patient."
"We know in the randomized control of the trials to date – and there's been several of them – that there's no evidence that [hydroxycloroquine] improves the patients' outcomes, whether they have mild, moderate disease, or whether they're seriously ill in the hospital. ... There also may be a specific subgroup that does benefit, but we can't see those in these randomized control trials," Birx explained.
10:20 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020
It's possible for US to lower Covid-19 case counts so children can return to school, Birx says
From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Thursday that it is possible for the country to get coronavirus case counts low enough for children to go back to school.
Speaking during an interview on "Fox & Friends," Birx said there are school districts where the coronavirus test positivity rate in the community is under 5%. "What we want is the whole country to be able to go back to school, and all of those case counts down to what we call the ‘green states.’"
"We know that is possible because states have been able to do that and maintain that. And so, that's the evidence base that we should be talking about. We have evidence now of what works and how to maintain very low case counts. The rest of America needs to follow those guidelines and bring the rest of us into that green category," she said.
Birx also said the way Americans can help get children back to school is by doing "what the President has asked," which includes wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings where you can't socially distance.
10:04 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020
Norway will impose 10-day quarantine on travelers from Belgium after virus spike
From CNN’s Isabel Tejera in Madrid
Norway will reimpose a 10-day quarantine requirement for travelers arriving from Belgium after a rise in Covid-19 cases there, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The new rule goes into effect on Saturday.
Norway last week reintroduced restrictions on travel from Spain in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
10:10 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020
Iceland launches stricter coronavirus measures after spike in cases
From CNN’s Inga Thordar in Reykjavík, Iceland
Iceland’s government announced tougher coronavirus-related restrictions Thursday following new outbreaks in the country.
The new rules take effect starting tomorrow. Here's a look at them:
There will be a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people (previously, gatherings of up to 500 people were allowed).
The government is reintroducing the two-meter social distancing rule. In circumstances where that is not possible, masks are mandatory indoors and outdoors.
Companies and official buildings where people gather are now required to secure and provide access to hand sanitizer
Everyone who plans to stay more than 10 days must now test negative for Covid-19 twice – even if the first test was negative. Some travelers to Iceland previously only had to test negative once to avoid quarantine.
If those measures aren’t sufficient to halt new outbreaks, the government has said it will look at further action in relation to border controls.
Some background: Iceland has been praised for its handling of the virus, its extensive testing capacity, and its tracking and tracing methods.
The current rules were due to be relaxed even further on Aug. 4, but new outbreaks in the country have instead resulted in the new stricter measures.
The announcement comes a day before a long weekend in Iceland and one of its busiest travel periods of the year.
9:53 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020
5th Brazilian minister tests positive for Covid-19
From journalist Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo
Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Marcos Pontes announced he has tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday. Pontes said he is fine and has few symptoms via Twitter.
"I just received a positive test for the new coronavirus. I'm fine, just with a little bit of flu and headache. Now in isolation. (I ) will be all right. I keep fulfilling my schedule remotely and following all protocols for social distance", Pontes posted on Twitter.
The minister also posted a video announcing he took the Covid-19 test on Tuesday after feeling some fever. He said that he intends to take nitazoxanide, a vermifuge that is been tested by his ministry for Covid-19. "I am even going to join the nitazoxanide tests," he said.
Pontes becomes the fifth minister of President Jair Bolsonaro's government to be diagnosed with the virus.
Augusto Heleno, Minister of Internal Security; Bento Albuquerque, Minister of Mines and Energy; Onyx Lorenzoni, Minister of Citizenship; and Milton Ribeiro, Minister of Education, have tested positive for Covid-19.
10:55 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020
US stocks open sharply lower
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
Wall Street opened sharply in the red on Thursday, following an economic data-heavy morning.
UK "not out of the woods" with coronavirus, Boris Johnson says
From Niamh Kennedy in Dublin
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “absolutely vital” for people in the UK not to “delude ourselves into thinking we are out of the woods or that this is somehow all over” as Europe feels the initial ripples of a second coronavirus wave.
Speaking during a visit to North Yorkshire in England on Thursday, Johnson said the way to avoid a “damaging second wave” was to adhere to social distancing guidelines, practice regular hand-washing, and wear face masks on public transport and in shops.
Johnson said that despite the fact that death numbers in the UK “are well down,” his message to Britons remained “don’t lose focus, don’t lose discipline, continue to follow those guidelines, and if you have symptoms get a test.”
The Prime Minister said he was monitoring the “resurgence of the virus in some other European countries” and the rising case numbers in the United States.
He said consequently it was “absolutely vital” that Britons “don’t delude ourselves into thinking we are out of the woods or that this is somehow all over.”
Johnson also strongly encouraged Britons experiencing any coronavirus symptoms to get a test. This comes after an announcement from the chief medical officers of the four UK nations Monday, stipulating that anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms must now self-isolate for ten days rather than the previously advised seven.
Addressing recent flare ups of the virus in areas such as Oldham, Johnson said he knew it was “tough” for residents but that “the best way to deal with this is if we have tough local lockdowns.”
He paid tribute to the “the efforts of local people in many, many places across the country from Kirklees to Ashford” working to get the virus under control.
9:28 a.m. ET, July 30, 2020
Birx calls on state and local officials to "mandate masks for their communities"
From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo
During an interview on Fox & Friends Thursday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, called on state and local officials "to mandate masks for their communities" to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Birx explained that although the situation is improving across the South, there is "still a very serious pandemic" in that region. She added health officials now see the virus "moving up."
"Now we see the virus – probably because of vacations and other reasons of travel – moving up into Kentucky, Tennessee, southern Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and, of course, we continue to have problems across the west coast – Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Utah – and now increases in Colorado... these are the states that we call yellow states," Birx said.
"We believe if the governors and mayors of every locality right now would mandate masks for their communities and every American would wear a mask, and socially distance, and not congregate in large settings where you can't socially distance or wear a mask, that we can really get control of this virus and drive down cases as Arizona has done," Birx told Fox's Brian Kilmeade.
These are the states requiring people to wear masks when out in public.