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Anthony S. Fauci said Friday that it is a “danger” and “risky” for people to be gathering in large groups — whether at a Trump rally or a protest. The nation’s top infectious-disease expert advised on a podcast that if gatherings take place, people should “make sure” to wear a mask. President Trump plans to hold his first rally in months next week in Tulsa.

Meanwhile, across the South and West, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are on the rise. In Texas, more than 2,100 people in the state were hospitalized with covid-19 as of Friday, according to state data tracked by The Washington Post, and intensive care units are reportedly at 88 percent capacity in the Houston area. Arkansas reported 731 new cases, the largest since the pandemic began. And in North Carolina, cases topped 40,000 after its highest single-day increase.

“We continue to see a decrease in social distancing,” Mecklenburg County, N.C., health director Gibbie Harris said Friday, “and before long we will be back to where we were when we put the stay-at-home order in place.”

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new coronavirus guidelines Friday, which included a recommendation that organizers of large events that involve shouting, chanting or singing “strongly encourage” the use of cloth face coverings. push to reopen the country.
  • Florida got rid of its top geographic data scientist in May. Rebekah Jones now publicizes statistics on her own, at FloridaCOVIDAction.com, which gives a higher case total and a lower number of people tested than data published by the state.
  • Wall Street is back in buying mode, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping nearly 700 points at the opening bell following Thursday’s a massive sell-off.
  • The United States surpassed 2 million coronavirus cases on Thursday, less than five months after the first case was confirmed. That far exceeds the number of infections reported in any other country. The virus has now killed at least 112,000 people in the United States.

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1:50 a.m.
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NBA players express concern about potential return amid coronavirus spikes, national protests

While the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association continue to negotiate the terms of next month’s return, dozens of players have raised questions about the plan’s format, schedule, health and safety protocols, and timing within the context of nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

In an internal memo sent to teams Friday, the NBA indicated that plans for the resumption of the 2019-20 season remain on track, with all players instructed to return to their markets by June 22 and games set to begin at a single-site campus in greater Orlando on July 30, one day earlier than initially proposed. But the league and its players have yet to reach agreement on a health and safety protocol, with union members airing grievances and asking questions during a virtual meeting Wednesday.

Read more here.

1:29 a.m.
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Trump, GOP want a Jacksonville convention party. Some locals worry about health.

Public safety experts, business leaders and local officials expressed anxiety Friday that the decision to move most of the Republican presidential convention to Jacksonville, Fla., will needlessly endanger the health of participants and state residents already grappling with a record high number of new coronavirus cases.

“It’s irresponsible,” said Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett L. Dennis, a Democrat. “It will increase the number of covid infections and put the locals at risk.”

“Anyone who is a thinking person would have concerns,” said David Miller, a Jacksonville business leader who opposes the move. “It puts our community in harm’s way. And it values political spectacle over sound decisions being made with the best interests of the health of our community.”

Read more here.

1:19 a.m.
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Biden attacks Trump’s handling of the coronavirus

Joe Biden ratcheted up some of his criticism of President Trump on Friday, saying that his handling of the coronavirus was “almost criminal” and that he has “bungled” the economic fallout.

During an hour-long town hall with the labor union AFSCME, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee warned that the U.S. will likely see a resurgence of the coronavirus and that Trump isn’t doing enough to prepare. “This is almost criminal, the way he’s handled this,” Biden said of Trump’s leadership on the coronavirus. “There’s going to be some form of second wave, I hate to tell you this,” he added later.

Biden said Trump’s approach has led to more Americans deaths and a slower economic recovery. “Donald Trump has bungled everything,” he said. “He’s bungled us into the worst job crisis in over a century.”

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1:10 a.m.
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William & Mary to bring students back for fall term amid pandemic

The College of William & Mary, second-oldest in the country, plans to bring students back to its Williamsburg, Va., campus in August despite the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic — an announcement that signals an acceleration of the movement to reopen campuses.

Katherine A. Rowe, the public university’s president, said Friday the fall term will start for the law school on Aug. 17 and for undergraduates and other students on Aug. 19. There will be no fall break, and some classes will be held on Saturday, in an effort to squeeze as much in-person instruction as possible into the semester by the time it ends before Thanksgiving.

“Ultimately, our mission calls us back," Rowe said in a statement. "The uncertainty of pandemic persists and no single path or solution will meet the needs of all. Yet a return to campus speeds access to student learning and community, under pandemic, in numerous ways. Students are asking to return and we have heard them. I have confidence in the creativity of our staff and faculty to partner with students and families and find the best solution for each.”

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1:02 a.m.
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CDC issues new covid-19 guidelines at a time of protests and rallies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new coronavirus guidelines Friday to help Americans navigate a changed country, as they face mass protests, spiking cases in many states and President Trump’s plans to return to holding big rallies.

The CDC guidance includes a recommendation that organizers of large events that involve shouting, chanting or singing “strongly encourage” the use of cloth face coverings. That is complicated by a push to reopen the country even as more than 2 million Americans have now been infected by the coronavirus.

The CDC guidance comes after more than two weeks of national protests where many demonstrators wore masks but others did not. It also coincides with Trump’s plans to hit the campaign trail next week and to accept his party’s nomination at a packed convention in Jacksonville, Fla., in August.

Read more here.

12:51 a.m.
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Virtual winery tours are bringing wine country to you

The pitch seemed too good to be true. A video graphics firm specializing in virtual-reality exhibits and “minds-on experiences” was offering to produce virtual tours of wineries, for no charge.

“I honestly thought there was a catch to it, you know, like the free cruise phone calls you get,” says Pennie Haase, national marketing director for Alexander Valley Vineyards in California’s Sonoma County. But she checked out the firm, Geoffrey M. Curley + Associates, or GMC+A, and discovered “The Great Fermentation,” an exhibition last year that brought the experience of visiting a Tuscan vineyard and winery to downtown Chicago. She decided to jump at the offer.

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12:37 a.m.
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Goodbye to make-your-own waffles? Coronavirus may end the hotel breakfast as we know it

In pre-pandemic times, Rick Bell had the breakfast routine down at Engadine Inn and Cabins in the Asheville, N.C. area, where he is an owner, proprietor and cook.

First course: a fruit-based dish. Second: traditional hot breakfast, either sweet or savory depending on the day. Plates went out one at a time to guests of the bed-and-breakfast in the dining room, along with juice and coffee. Service started at 9 a.m.

These days, mealtime and tables are being spread out, and porches are open for breakfast. And instead of making several visits to a table, a server is leaving all the plates, pots and cups at once to avoid too much interaction.

Like hoteliers all over the world, Bell is having to reconsider once-standard morning meal plans to accommodate new health regulations, employee safety and customer concerns as coronavirus changes the way people travel and dine out. For the many hotel brands that have elevated breakfast to a key part of their offering, the adjustment is especially important.

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12:36 a.m.
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Fauci warns Trump rally attendees that it’s ‘risky’ to gather in large groups

Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said Friday that it is a “danger” and “risky” for people to be gathering in large groups — whether at a Trump rally or a protest.

Speaking on ABC News’s “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, Fauci said that if the gatherings take place, people should “make sure” to wear a mask.

Just restrictions are lifting, “doesn’t mean that you walk around without a mask, that you jump into a crowd ... that you stop doing the things that are important," Fauci told host Jonathan Karl.

President Trump has repeatedly refused to wear a face covering in public, and recently moved the main part of his party’s nominating convention from North Carolina to Florida after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) declined to promise he could speak to a packed arena. Trump has indicated he does not want to require participants to wear masks for his acceptance speech.

The dissonance comes as fears of a new wave of coronavirus surging in several regions, with a number of states reaching record-high cases in recent days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new coronavirus guidelines Friday to help Americans navigate a changed country, as they face mass protests, spiking cases in many states and President Trump’s plans to return to holding big rallies.

The CDC guidance includes a recommendation that organizers of large events that involve shouting, chanting or singing “strongly encourage” the use of cloth face coverings. That is complicated by a push to reopen the country even as more than 2 million Americans have now been infected by the coronavirus.

12:26 a.m.
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Minnesota leaders claim state is better prepared for a coronavirus resurgence

Minnesota leaders are claiming the state is better prepared for a second wave of the novel coronavirus, if it follows similar patterns of other states across the country that have relaxed social distancing and are now seeing an uptick in cases and hospitalizations.

Officials told the Star Tribune that compared to when the pandemic began, the state now has more capacity to test and track coronavirus, along with more hospital beds and stable supplies of masks and gowns to protect doctors, nurses and other caregivers.

On Thursday, the state reported 13,391 diagnostic tests — its second-highest daily tally so far in the pandemic. Free testing took place at four sites in Minneapolis and St. Paul, according to the Star Tribune, following protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody.

“There’s no question in my mind but that we’re better prepared,” Jan Malcolm, state health commissioner, told the Star Tribune. “We also know a lot more about the virus than we did four months ago.”

Minnesota has recorded 29,795 coronavirus cases, with a 479-case increase on Friday. Minnesota has now seen its daily reported cases rise for the past three days. The state also reported 25 new fatalities, for a total of 1,274 since the pandemic began.

On Friday, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to continue Minnesota’s coronavirus peacetime emergency, which allows Gov. Tim Walz (D) to keep his emergency power. The state Senate had voted earlier in the day to end it.

Multiple states are seeing an increasing number of patients since Memorial Day weekend, when many people socialized in groups in parts of the country. Additionally, there are new concerns that the anti-racism protests sparked by Floyd’s death in Minneapolis could add to a nationwide surge.

12:15 a.m.
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Alcoholics Anonymous, struggling to reach new members during the shutdown, expects a surge

Meetings have always been a path to sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. But instead of hunting for a gathering in a church basement, these days, most seekers have to find the right Zoom password.

Virtual meetings are taking place around-the-clock; anyone can join a gathering on the other side of the world in the middle of the night. But because of “Zoom bombing” — outside attacks in which intruders enter video meetings — hosts are adding passwords to meetings, which members fear could be a barrier -to some. And with no formal marketing, A.A. runs through word of mouth via local networks, so finding the right meeting link often takes several clicks for the uninitiated.

Members of A.A. say they miss the in-person meetings where people often hug and hold hands. They say the stay-at-home orders to combat the novel coronavirus have created additional feelings of isolation, which those addicted to alcohol already are facing. And they are worried that people who want to join A.A. might have trouble finding a meeting or feeling comfortable joining a Zoom call where most everyone else generally knows each other.

Read more here.

11:50 p.m.
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MLB’s latest proposal unlikely to result in a deal on 2020 start

Major League Baseball’s latest proposal to its union for starting the pandemic-delayed season improved its previous offers but failed to meet the players’ demands of full, prorated salaries for 2020 — which means it likely did little to slow the sport’s descent toward a default scenario of a late-summer mini-season of between 48 to 54 games.

Commissioner Rob Manfred, in a television interview on Wednesday, had predicted the league’s offer would represent “another significant move in the players’ direction in terms of the salary issue.” However, union leaders have been adamant that players would not accept additional pay cuts beyond the one agreed to in March — which called for them to earn prorated shares of their 2020 salaries based on the number of games played — and are expected to reject MLB’s latest offer.

Read more here.

11:37 p.m.
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Houston congresswoman is self-isolating after exposure to covid-19

Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Tex.) announced Friday she was going to self-quarantine in Houston after she found out she had been in contact with a family member who tested positive for the coronavirus.

“The Congresswoman has been tested and is awaiting results,” Garcia’s office said in a statement.

Garcia represents the 29th Congressional District of Texas, which includes eastern Houston, one of the state’s coronavirus hot spots. Harris County, which includes Houston, has the highest number of cases in the state. On Thursday, the county also reported its highest covid-19 hospital population since the outbreak began. The county introduced a four-tier rating system Thursday to measure the danger of the pandemic, and its first day showed the second-highest rating on the scale.

“I want this to serve as a reminder for everyone in the Houston region and across the country that we are still combating COVID-19,” Garcia said in a statement, “and that everyone should be following public health guidelines that will help keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.”

10:51 p.m.
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University of Houston suspends voluntary workouts after six athletes test positive for coronavirus

The University of Houston has suspended all voluntary workouts after six student-athletes tested positive for the coronavirus. According to a Friday news release from the school, the impacted students have been placed in isolation, and contact tracing procedures have been initiated.

The decision to suspend workouts came not only because of the positive tests among athletes but also with an increase in positive tests in the greater Houston area over the past week. The athletic program will continue to partner with university officials, team physicians and local health professionals to decide when to restart workouts.

The Houston area has experienced a spike of cases since Memorial Day. In Harris County, there were 312 new cases reported Friday, with 15,864 cases overall. Texas reported 2,097 new cases Friday, with 83,680 cases total. Texas also had 2,166 hospitalized with the coronavirus on Friday — an increase of 158 patients from Thursday.

The NCAA allowed athletes to return to campus for voluntary offseason workouts June 1. Several college programs have reported athletes testing positive for coronavirus since then, including Auburn and Alabama.

According to Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle, the university conducted tests only on athletes who showed symptoms as they returned to campus. Other colleges have tested all athletes who returned to campus for voluntary workouts.

10:48 p.m.
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A N.J. city voted to allow indoor dining, in defiance of governor’s order. The state sued.

A New Jersey city surprised residents — and state officials — on Thursday when it announced that the city council had voted to allow indoor dining at its restaurants starting next week, in defiance of Gov. Phil Murphy’s order.

Murphy (D) already said outdoor dining would be allowed beginning June 15, but the city of Asbury Park wanted to go further to stimulate the local economy. The city said it would allow restaurants to host patrons indoors at 25 percent capacity, or up to 50 people, whichever was lower.

On Friday, Murphy announced the state was suing Asbury Park to stop it.

“We have worked with the governing body of Asbury Park to try to amicably resolve the issue of their resolution regarding indoor dining,” Murphy said Friday. “Unfortunately, they have not done so."

The city reversed course, noting on its website that the lawsuit “resulted in the Superior Court entering an Order which temporarily halts Asbury Park from allowing indoor food and beverage service per the resolution."

Cases and hospitalizations are down significantly in New Jersey since the state’s pandemic peak in April. Murphy has relaxed restrictions and announced the state would enter Phase 2 of reopening next week.

But Murphy’s slow-and-steady approach has not been fast enough for some businesses that are struggling from the sharp economic blow brought on by the outbreak and social distancing measures.

“New Jersey elected officials and small-business owners have been challenging Murphy’s latest shutdown guidelines after he participated in the anti-police-brutality marches, which he called a ‘profound moment,’ ” Bloomberg News reports. “But his critics said it showed he was holding residents to a different standard for social distancing as the state tries to avoid a resurgence of virus cases.”

On Friday, President Trump is hosting Murphy and his wife for dinner at his Bedminster golf club, where the president is spending the weekend, to “discuss the State’s response efforts to COVID-19, progress to reopen, and their shared interest for improving our Nation’s infrastructure,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said on Twitter.