Coronavirus updates: 112 Washington fraternity students infected; Broadway actor Nick Cordero dies; Michigan reports zero deaths

An outbreak at a fraternity at the University of Washington has left more than 100 people positive for the coronavirus. Broadway actor Nick Cordero, who was hospitalized for more than 90 days after contracting the coronavirus, died Sunday.

Cordero was 41. 

“I am in disbelief and hurting everywhere. My heart is broken as I cannot imagine our lives without him,” his wife Amanda Kloots confirmed on Instagram. “Nick was such a bright light.”

The state of Michigan reported zero COVID-19 death for the first time since mid-March. Meanwhile, Florida surpassed 200,000 coronavirus cases, more than tripling the total number of coronavirus cases since its Phase 2 reopening began last month.

Here are some recent developments:

  • The University of Washington announced Sunday that at least 112 fraternity students tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total up to 121.
  • Airbnb added new booking restrictions for renters under the age of 25 to prevent house parties as cases multiply across the country.
  • Economists estimate a slow recovery despite a record of 4.8 million jobs added to the economy in June.

📈Today’s stats: The U.S. has seen more than 2.8 million confirmed cases and more than 129,000 deaths, according to John Hopkins University data. Globally, there have been almost 11.5 million cases and more than 530,000 deaths.

📰 What we’re reading: Feeling whiplash over reopenings? You aren’t alone. At least 21 states have halted their plans to reopen as coronavirus cases surge across the U.S. Reopening, pausing, shutting down may be our new reality – and the frustration is real.

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Regeneron ‘antibody cocktail’ enters Phase 3 trials

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals on Monday announced initiation of “late-stage clinical trials” for its cocktail for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. The Phase 3 trial, being run jointly with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is being conducted at approximately 100 sites and is expected to enroll 2,000 patients in the U.S., Regeneron said in a statement. A separate trial is testing the cocktail on patients already being treated for the disease. No timeline for possible release of the drug was provided.

“We are pleased to collaborate with NIAID to study REGN-COV2 in our quest to further prevent the spread of the virus with an antiviral antibody cocktail that could be available much sooner than a vaccine,” said George Yancopoulos, president and chief scientific officer of Regeneron.

COVID confusion: Mixed messages threaten public psyche

As coronavirus cases continue to surge in many states, the process of easing restrictions, then slamming them back in place could be America’s new tumultuous reality – one that threatens the psyche of many, experts say. At least 21 states have paused their plans to reopen their economies, just weeks after unveiling those measures as the nation started to emerge from strict quarantine measures and stay-at-home orders. These stops and starts can trigger feelings of frustration and fatigue and leave people feeling overwhelmed.    

“This is very confusing for many people, and rightfully so,” Dr. Ogbonnaya Omenka, assistant professor of public health at Butler University, told USA TODAY. “We are reaping the fruits of those mixed messages.”

Lorenzo Reyes

Hajj, usually drawing 2.5M Muslim pilgrims, will be limited to 1,000

The annual Hajj pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina that usually draws more than 2 million pilgrims from around the world will be limited to about 1,000 pilgrims, Saudi Arabia said Monday. No foreign pilgrims will be allowed into the country for the weeklong ritual due to coronavirus concerns. Hajj, expected to start July 28, is a requirement for all physically and financially able Muslims at least once in their lifetime. Face masks will be mandatory, and touching or kissing the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam, will be banned.

‘Greek Row outbreak’: 121 students in Seattle infected with coronavirus

At least 112 fraternity students at the University of Washington have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of students infected to 121, officials announced Sunday. The nine additional students who tested positive were close contacts of the students, but do not live in the Greek houses, the university and the Seattle and King County Public Health Department said in a joint statement. The outbreak was first announced on June 30 with at least 38 confirmed cases of students living in 10 fraternity houses. That number spiked to 89 positive cases on July 3.

The school has a “pop-up” testing site near Greek Row that had conducted nearly 1,300 tests as of the weekend. Residents of Greek houses and others in the community have also sought testing at other nearby sites, the statement said.

Broadway actor Nick Cordero dies after three months in ICU

Nick Cordero, the Broadway actor who found a multitude of new worldwide fans who rallied behind him as he struggled with the coronavirus, died Sunday at age 41. Cordero was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in late March for what was initially thought to be pneumonia. A first coronavirus test came up negative, though a subsequent test was positive for COVID-19. Over the course of 13 weeks, he faced a multitude of serious complications, including a leg amputation, infections in his lungs and the insertion of a temporary pacemaker.

“I am in disbelief and hurting everywhere. My heart is broken as I cannot imagine our lives without him,” his wife Amanda Kloots wrote in an Instagram post. “Nick was such a bright light.”

– Brian Truitt

Airbnb adds age restrictions to prevent parties

Airbnb is taking steps to reduce “unauthorized house parties” thrown by guests in rental homes. The San Francisco-based lodging company says it sent guidelines to U.S. hosts to “protect the safety of our community” as coronavirus cases rage throughout the country. Under the policy, U.S. guests under the age of 25 who have less than three positive reviews and any negative reviews will be restricted from booking entire homes in areas close to where they live. They will be allowed to book “any type of listing outside their local area” and can book private rooms and hotel rooms anywhere.

“Reducing the number of unauthorized house parties on Airbnb has always been a priority, and it’s more important now than ever,” the release read. “We’re taking actions to support safe and responsible travel in the United States.”

Hannah Yasharoff

Economists expect a slowdown amid rising coronavirus cases

The big rebound from the steepest job losses in U.S. history has gotten off to a roaring start, with a record 4.8 million jobs added to the economy in June, following 2.7 million gains the prior month. But the comeback is likely to slow significantly in the months ahead, economists say.

“We expect the recovery from here will be a lot bumpier and job gains to be more muted,” says economist Michael Pearce of Capital Economics. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics, thinks it’s even possible payrolls could decline in July and August.

The biggest stumbling block is that 21 states, largely in the South and West, have paused or reversed their reopening plans amid a spike in cases. Many opened sooner than health guidelines dictated. New U.S. coronavirus cases passed 50,000 this week, a single-day record.

Paul Davidson

Michigan reports zero deaths for first time since mid-March

For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan has reported no new coronavirus-related deaths. However, the state added 343 more coronavirus cases to its tally Sunday. The state total is now 65,876 confirmed cases with 5,972 deaths, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

Meredith Spelbring, Detroit Free Press

Milwaukee Bucks close practice facility after receiving coronavirus test results

Over the past few weeks, the Milwaukee Bucks have been utilizing their practice facility for individual workouts ahead of the NBA’s planned restart at the end of July. Those workouts ramped up last week as all of the team’s players returned to Milwaukee for scheduled, socially distanced workouts. Now, it’s unlikely those workouts will continue.

The Bucks shut down their practice facility Sunday after receiving the results of Friday’s coronavirus testing, according to a league official familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The team still plans to leave for Orlando on Thursday, but it isn’t expected to hold any more workouts before that time.

Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

President Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire July 11

President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold an outdoor rally Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire amid the coronavirus pandemic. The rally will be held at the Portsmouth International Airport, just three weeks after Trump’s first rally since March in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “There will be ample access to hand sanitizer and all attendees will be provided a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear,” says the news release. The president has visited Arizona and gave a July 3 speech at Mount Rushmore since his Tulsa rally.

Houston, Austin leaders ask for authority to tighten restrictions

Leaders of Houston and Austin are asking Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott to empower local governments to order residents to stay home as a  surge in confirmed cases puts pressure on the state’s hospital capacity. Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a Democrat, told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that he wants Abbott, a Republican, to return control to local governments. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, also a Democrat, says a stay-at-home order is needed. Texas reported its highest daily increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases Saturday with 8,258.

“We are on a trajectory right now that we could be inundating our intensive care units here within a week to 10 days. We may have to take drastic action,” Adler said. “If this is happening in Austin and Dallas and Houston and San Antonio all at the same time, we are in trouble.”

If the escalation in coronavirus cases doesn’t stop, then authorities will have to consider “whether or not to pull back from the reopening of the economy,” Adler said. 

More on the coronavirus from USA TODAY

Where a face mask is required: Many governors are instituting or renewing orders requiring people to wear face coverings in public as cases continue to rise. Is your state on the list? See it here

Coronavirus Watch: We have a few ways for you to stay informed. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here, and come together and share the latest information about coronavirus, coping with lifestyle changes and more by joining our Facebook group.

Where are states on reopening? Some are taking preemptive measures to postpone further phases of their reopening, while others have rolled back their phases to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. See the list.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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