As coronavirus cases climbed in the U.S. and across the globe, the World Health Organization director general warned “the worst is yet to come” and European Union leaders were ready to extend the ban on American travelers for at least two more weeks.
Adjustments were being made to help slow spreading of the disease. Jacksonville, Florida, which is scheduled to host the GOP convention, is mandating masks, though it’s not clear for how long. Broadway stages will remain dark through 2020. And beaches in Los Angeles and several Florida counties will be closed for Fourth of July weekend as cases surge.
Also, a drug company’s steep price for remdesivir, a drug that has shortened recovery times for severe COVID-19 patients by about 31%, is drawing criticism.
Some good news? The nation’s leading infectious diseases expert remains “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine could be widely available by year’s end.
Here are the most significant developments of the day:
- Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 10 million, while more than 504,000 across the globe have died from the virus.
- Nashville residents are required to wear a mask at all times in public as of Monday. Starting Friday, residents who violate the order will be cited with a Class C misdemeanor.
- New York state reported its lowest single-day coronavirus death toll – 5 – since March 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
📈Today’s stats: As of 9 p.m. EDT Monday, the number of confirmed cases globally was over 10.2 million, and the death toll was at 504,345. There are more than 2.5 million cases in the U.S. and in excess of 126,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.
📰 What we’re reading: A Detroit woman dropped her husband off at a hospital on the night of March 28. Less than 24 hours later, a doctor called to tell Denise Chandler that her husband died. Chandler finally gets answers from a nurse who saw her husband die.
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Oregon, Kansas will begin requiring face masks in public this week
Oregon and Kansas are the latest states set to require residents to wear face masks in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Starting Wednesday, face masks in indoor public spaces will be required for all Oregonians, Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday. Brown said there has been an “alarming rate” of cases spread in urban and rural counties in the last month.
“The upcoming July 4th holiday weekend is a critical point for Oregon in this pandemic, and we can all make a difference,” Brown said in a news release. She said she does not want to close businesses as other states have done.
In Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly said she will issue an executive issue requiring face masks in public starting Friday. “The evidence could not be clearer — wearing a mask is not only safe, but it is necessary to avoid another shutdown,” Kelly told reporters Monday.
The order will require people to wear a mask around others. Specific guidance will be issued later this week, Kelly said.
Kansas health officials have reported more than 14,400 confirmed cases and 270 deaths as of Monday afternoon. In Oregon, more than 200 people have died from the virus, and nearly 8,500 have tested positive.
Fireworks sales are booming due to COVID-19
The next COVID-19 shortage could be fireworks. With cities across the nation canceling public displays this Independence Day, sales of fireworks are booming as more families opt to put on their own shows.
“Fireworks sales have been unprecedented and stronger than ever in the history of my being in this industry and I’ve been in it for 50 years,” said Bruce Zoldan, CEO of Ohio-based Phantom Fireworks, which has approximately 80 stores throughout the U.S. and supplies thousands of retailers nationwide.
Since around mid-May when states started phased-in reopenings, Zoldan said sales have shot up and have not slowed down. He said the company was planning on a 15% increase in sales this year, but estimates sales are around 115% higher than 2019.
– Kelly Tyko
As New York Public Library prepares to reopen, iconic lion statues wear face masks
As the New York Public Library prepares to reopen in July, its two iconic lion sculptures are wearing face masks to remind New Yorkers to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The statues, Patience and Fortitude, are “perfect symbols for the strengths our City and our nation need now even more,” New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx said in a statement.
“We will get to the other side of this public health crisis together. But to do so, we must remain vigilant, we must have patience and fortitude, and we must follow what experts tell us, especially as we continue to reopen our cities. The lions, protectors of knowledge and truth who have seen 109 years worth of history, are setting that example.”
This is the first time the statues have worn masks. On other occasions, the lions have donned wreaths every holiday season in December, Mets and Yankees caps for the 2000 Subway Series and top hats to celebrate the library system’s centennial in 1995.
The library is preparing to reopen some of its branches in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island on July 13.
Los Angeles, Florida counties to close beaches for July 4th weekend
Several counties in South Florida, including Miami-Dade, and Los Angeles County in California are closing their beaches for the July 4th holiday weekend as part of an effort to get control over spiking COVID-19 infection rates.
In California, Los Angeles County reported 2,903 new cases Monday, the highest single-day total since the pandemic began.
The Florida Department of Health reported 5,266 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday, the sixth consecutive day in which at least 5,000 new cases have been announced, and 28 more deaths, according to Florida Today, part of the USA TODAY network.
The state now has more than 146,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 3,400 deaths. The cases have more than doubled since Florida entered Phase 2 of its reopening plan on June 5. Here’s what you need to know about weekend beach closures.
– Jayme Deerwester and Chris Woodyard
WHO: ‘Worst is yet to come’
As India set another one-day record for new cases of coronavirus with 20,000, the head of the World Health Organization offered a reminder that the pandemic is “not even close to being over.”
“The worst is yet to come,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said. “With this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst.”
India, the world’s second-most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people, has now registered the fourth-highest total of cases globally with about 550,000, nearly 100,000 of them in the last week alone. Several Indian states have reimposed shutdowns.
Europe: Chinese visitors OK, Americans not
Chinese visitors are welcome in Europe. Americans are not.
Travelers from China, initially the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged much of the globe, will be allowed back into Europe beginning Wednesday, according to a Bloomberg report. The European Union is expected to formalize the decision to lift the ban on Chinese visitors Tuesday.
At the same time, European leaders are expected to extend the travel ban on U.S. residents by at least another two weeks. The U.S. has registered 25% of the world’s cases of COVID-19 and the same percentage of deaths, and a recent surge threatens to dramatically increase the numbers.
Jacksonville, host city of GOP convention, requires masks
The Republican Party moved the prime events for its convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, because of differences over social distancing requirements to combat the coronavirus at the original site.
Now the GOP’s locale of choice has taken a major step that clashes with President Donald Trump’s personal opposition to wearing masks, mandating them for residents and visitors starting Monday.
“At 5 p.m. today, the City of Jacksonville will be adopting a mandatory mask requirement for public & indoor locations, and in other situations where individuals cannot socially distance,” the city said through its verified Twitter account.
Trump has not only refused to wear a mask in public, but has insisted that face coverings not be required at his campaign events, like the rally he held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20. Several staffers for that event have since tested positive for the coronavirus.
The selection of Jacksonville for the convention’s main events is also looking questionable now with the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Florida, which reported more than 8,500 new cases Sunday.
Arizona shuts downs bars, gyms, movie theaters
Arizona’s explosive increase in coronavirus cases has prompted action from Gov. Doug Ducey, who has ordered bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to close for at least 30 days beginning Monday night.
Hotel, motel and municipal pools are also shutting down. And the Republican governor said public schools won’t be able to open any earlier than Aug. 17, thwarting plans by many districts to start the school year in late July or early August.
Arizona health officials reported 3,858 more confirmed coronavirus cases Sunday, the most reported in a single day in the state so far and the seventh time in the last 10 days that daily cases surpassed the 3,000 mark. Since the pandemic began, 74,500 cases and 1,588 deaths stemming from the virus have been reported in Arizona.
Ducey’s statewide stay-at-home order had expired in mid-May, allowing bars and other businesses to reopen, with conditions.
Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy protection, hopes shows will go on
Cirque du Soleil, another business victim of the pandemic, announced Monday it is filing for bankruptcy protection to “restructure its capital structure.”
Its application will be heard by the Superior Court of Quebec on Tuesday before filing for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Cirque du Soleil is an institution on the Las Vegas Strip, with its mesmerizing shows high on visitors’ vacation agendas. The company had six shows operating in major Las Vegas casino hotels when the coronavirus crushed travel and closed casinos for nearly three months.
“Our priority has always been, and remains, the health and safety of our artists, our partners, our employees and our audiences,” the troupe said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor and assess the situation to determine when shows will resume.”
– David Oliver and Dawn Gilbertson
Broadway stages to remain dark through 2020
The Broadway League announced Monday that performances in New York City will be suspended through the remainder of 2020 because of COVID-19. Broadway theaters are offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for all performances through Jan. 3, 2021. Tickets for next winter and spring performances are expected to go on sale in the coming weeks after stages abruptly went dark March 12.
“The Broadway League continues to work with city and state officials … to formulate the best plan to restart the industry,” the league said in a statement, adding that screening and testing, cleaning and sanitizing are among protocols being considered for when the iconic theater district reopens.
– Sara M. Moniuszko
California, 7 other states could join New York’s quarantine order
Travelers from eight additional states – including California – could soon be added to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut’s mandatory quarantine order, which would push the total to 16 states representing nearly half the country’s population.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office is analyzing each state’s COVID-19 data to determine which states will join the original eight subject to the order, which requires travelers from places with high infection rates to isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee could be joining the original list: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
– Joseph Spector
Dr. Anthony Fauci: Vaccine could be ready soon, but might not be enough to halt pandemic
Dr. Anthony Fauci said he remains hopeful that a vaccine will be available as soon as November but warned that it might only be 70% effective. He added that, because a significant segment of the population won’t want the vaccine, it’s not likely the pandemic will be eradicated completely.
Fauci blamed a “general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among … an alarmingly large percentage of people.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN that the most effective vaccine, for measles, is 97 to 98% effective. “That would be wonderful if we get there. I don’t think we will,” Fauci said. “I would settle for 70, 75% effective.”
COVID-19 drug remdesivir to cost up to $3,120 per patient
The maker of a drug shown to shorten recovery time for severely ill COVID-19 patients said Monday that it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries. Gilead Sciences said the price is $390 per vial, and the vast majority of patients are expected to receive a five-day treatment course using six vials. The price would be $3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors.
Peter Maybarduk, a lawyer at the consumer group Public Citizen, called the price “an outrage,” saying the drug received at least $70 million in public funding toward its development.
“The price puts to rest any notion that drug companies will ‘do the right thing’ because it is a pandemic,” Dr. Peter Bach, a health policy expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee halts final stage of state’s reopening plan
Washington state has paused the final stage of its reopening plan as coronavirus cases surge across the state.
“Phase 4 would mean a return to normal activity and we can’t do that now due to the continued rise in cases across the state. This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement.
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How long can the coronavirus live on surfaces? The numbers seem to keep changing, but new research has found that the virus that causes COVID-19 is undetectable on books and other common materials after three days.
Contributing: The Associated Press