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State and city leaders in the U.S. are responding to a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations by implementing new rules, scaling back on reopening plans and issuing dire warnings about the future of public health and the economy.

In lieu of a Florida statewide mask rule, several city mayors in Miami-Dade County are implementing their own mask requirements. Texas authorities temporarily suspended the alcohol permits of 12 bars for violating protocols designed to stem the crisis, as Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said cases and hospitalizations there are increasing at an “unacceptable” rate. And in Utah, the state epidemiologist is warning that the state could be facing a “complete shutdown” if cases continue to rise.

Twenty-nine states and U.S. territories showed an increase in their seven-day average of new reported cases on Monday, with nine states reporting record average highs. In the states where cases are spiking the most, hospitalizations are also rising sharply. More than 2,290,000 cases and 118,000 deaths have been officially reported in the United States.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Income is a potent force along with race in determining who among the nation’s vulnerable, older population has been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to a federal analysis.
  • As cases increase in Boise, Idaho health officials Monday scaled back some reopening plans in Ada County, the state’s most populous jurisdiction.
  • The bitter, months-long negotiation between Major League Baseball and its players’ union effectively ended Monday night, with the MLB saying it intended to exercise its power to implement a 2020 schedule. Meanwhile, the NBA is preparing for its return at Disney as Florida’s coronavirus cases exceed 100,000.
  • Coronavirus cases at San Quentin State Prison in California are skyrocketing, with the prison reporting 317 active cases as of Monday evening, more than double the number of reported cases two days ago.
  • Citing the pandemic, President Trump issued an executive order Monday barring many categories of foreign workers and curbing immigration visas through the end of the year.
  • Politicization of the pandemic has worsened the global outbreak, the secretary general of the World Health Organization said Monday, a day after the U.N. body announced the highest daily rise since the pandemic began.

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June 22, 2020 at 11:41 PM EDT

Houston mayor warns city: ‘We are moving very fast in the wrong direction’

Delays in data reporting and a large jump in new coronavirus case numbers in Houston led the city’s mayor to offer city residents a stark warning Monday.

“We are moving very fast in the wrong direction,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a news conference in which he announced more than 1,700 newly confirmed coronavirus cases since Sunday. The city now has 14,322 cases, he said.

Turner said Houston had worked diligently to flatten the curve of new infections in March and April, but soaring numbers in June are consistently outpacing those reported in past months. Texas began lifting coronavirus restrictions on May 1.

The number of hospitalizations in the city are also on the rise, with some hospitals already at capacity, and the police and fire departments have experienced staffing difficulties because of coronavirus cases among first-responders.

New cases reported by the health department have been delayed, and most of the new cases reported on Sunday and Monday were confirmed in tests conducted between June 9 and June 17, Turner added.

The mayor urged people to cover their faces with masks or bandannas whenever they are in the presence of another person outside of their household. He reminded residents that the virus can be spread even by people who are asymptomatic.

“The course that we are currently on is not one that is in the best interest of our city,” Turner said. “At the very minimum, what we’re asking people to do is to put on their masks, or face coverings, when they go into a business.”

Turner added that he is disappointed that the city has lost the gains it made in tamping down the outbreak during the shutdown measures in previous months.

“We are all engaged in opening and activities that are wiping away the success that we collectively achieved,” he said.

By Katie Shepherd
June 22, 2020 at 11:18 PM EDT

Cruise industry extends suspension of sailing from U.S. ports to at least Sept. 15

More than three months after first suspending cruises from U.S. ports, operators said they will now continue that pause for another two months — if not longer.

Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group, said in a statement Friday that its members would voluntarily extend the suspension until Sept. 15 or later if necessary. That’s almost two months after a no-sail order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to lift on July 24.

“[A]lthough we had hoped that cruise activity could resume as soon as possible after that date, it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States,” the association said in a statement.

Read more here.

By Hannah Sampson
June 22, 2020 at 10:49 PM EDT

Amid spike in cases, Idaho’s most populous county restores some restrictions

Citing a spike in coronavirus cases, particularly among young people who had visited Boise bars early this month, Idaho health officials on Monday reinstated some restrictions in Ada County, the state’s most populous jurisdiction.

Nine days after progressing to Phase 4 of its reopening plan, Idaho returned to Phase 3 in the county, which includes the capital city.

Effective Wednesday, bars must close again and gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited. Visitors are not allowed at senior centers. However, movie theaters will remain open and use of face masks will stay voluntary.

The remainder of the state will remain in Phase 4 until at least Friday.

“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, but we feel it is absolutely necessary and the time is right now,” Central District Health Director Russ Duke said in a video statement. “We recognize the impact this pandemic is having on our communities. Because you can’t see the virus, it’s easy to become complacent.”

One infected person is expected to lead to seven more cases, Ted Epperly, a board member for Central District Health, told the Idaho Statesman. Early in the pandemic, he said, the rate was 2.5, and as of Monday it was 1.19.

Idaho has reached its highest seven-day average of confirmed and probable cases since early April.

By Steven Goff
June 22, 2020 at 10:18 PM EDT

CBS News’s ‘60 in 6’ team recounts its coronavirus outbreak

The CBS News “60 in 6” team is believed to be one of the first known coronavirus clusters of the pandemic in New York, according to Jon LaPook, CBS News’s chief medical correspondent.

In a video produced by members of the “60 in 6” staff, the team recounts that the coronavirus tore through the team in “just days” and ultimately infected 16 people in early March. New York City reported its first case on March 1.

“The fact that it spread like wildfire shook me in a major way,” Spencer MacNaughton, a producer for “60 in 6,” said in the video.

In early March, ahead of the team’s planned launch on Quibi, the team met in person to shoot promotional material in New York with “60 in 6” correspondents Wesley Lowery, Seth Doane, Enrique Acevedo and Laurie Segall. By March 7, seven staffers were feeling ill. It is not known how or where the first coronavirus transmission within the group occurred. CBS closed its New York offices on March 11 after employees tested positive.

“60 Minutes” senior producer Matt Polevoy was among one of the first confirmed covid-19 patients at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. In the video, it was stated that he was one of the more serious cases, while the majority of the team had more mild cases.

By Samantha Pell
June 22, 2020 at 9:53 PM EDT

Arizona church hosting Trump rally claims air system kills ‘99.9 percent of covid within 10 minutes’

President Trump will hold a rally Tuesday at an Arizona megachurch that claims its air-purification system kills “99.9 percent of covid within 10 minutes” — despite no scientific evidence that is the case.

In a video posted by Dream City Church, senior pastor Luke Barnett and chief operations officer Brendon Zastrow touted an ionization system by CleanAir EXP that, Zastrow said, “takes particles out, and covid cannot live in that environment.”

Barnett said, “You can know when you come here you will be safe and protected. Thank God for great technology and thank God for being proactive.”

Air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants but, on their own, cannot kill the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency.

An email to church officials was not immediately returned.

CleanAir EXP said on its website that “lab tests confirm that CleanAir EXP eliminates 99.9% of coronavirus surrogate from the air in less than 10 minutes.” However, the company cited in a footnote that it kills 99.9 percent of active coronavirus 229E, which is not the coronavirus that causes the disease covid-19.

An email to the company seeking details was not immediately returned.

In Phoenix, Trump will speak before a largely young audience of an estimated 3,000, his second rally in the past few days. On Saturday, he appeared before a smaller-than-expected crowd at a sports arena in Tulsa.

Arizona is among several states that have seen a spike in coronavirus cases this month. On Friday, the Phoenix City Council mandated face masks in public when social distancing is not possible. The church plans to distribute masks and check body temperatures of those attending the rally.

By Steven Goff
June 22, 2020 at 9:42 PM EDT

With no statewide regulations, several Florida mayors implement mandatory local mask rules

After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) reiterated over the weekend that he will not be implementing a statewide mandatory mask rule, several city mayors across Miami-Dade County are announced local restrictions.

The cities of Miami, Aventura, Hialeah, Miami Gardens and North Miami Beach are all enacting new mask rules, which mandate that residents wear masks or facial coverings in public.

Miami’s regulation was announced at a news conference for the Miami-Dade County League of Cities Mayors’ Coalition on Monday. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the city’s new mask rule was in response to the recent increase in cases.

Suarez also added that the city will not be transitioning to Phase 3 of its reopening plan, which included lifting closure restrictions on nightclubs, movie theaters and other entertainment venues. It instead will be postponed to a later date.

Miami-Dade County has tallied 26,239 reported cases as of Monday, 4,042 since last week, according to Washington Post data. There have been 884 coronavirus-related deaths in the county, 58 since last week.

On Monday, Florida passed 100,000 overall coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. The state also reported 2,926 new positive cases and a dozen deaths of Florida residents on Monday. The state set a single-day record for new cases on Saturday (4,049).

Saturday evening, the Florida Department of Health issued an additional public health advisory, recommending that residents wear masks in public, encouraging older and vulnerable populations to limit interactions outside of the home, and urging all individuals to refrain from participating in gatherings of more than 50 people.

By Samantha Pell
June 22, 2020 at 9:29 PM EDT

Orlando Pride withdraws from NWSL tournament, citing 10 positive tests for coronavirus

The Orlando Pride on Monday withdrew from the National Women’s Soccer League tournament after six players and four staff members tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

All are asymptomatic, the team said. Their identities were not disclosed.

“This was obviously a difficult and disappointing outcome for our players, our staff and fans. However, this is a decision that was made in order to protect the health of all involved in the Challenge Cup,” Orlando executive vice president Amanda Duffy said in a written statement. “Our priority is now making sure our players and staff safely recover and providing any support wherever and however possible.”

The NWSL Challenge Cup is still scheduled to begin Saturday without spectators in greater Salt Lake City — the first U.S. team sport to return to since the pandemic shut down all professional sports leagues in March.

Read more here.

By Steven Goff
June 22, 2020 at 9:20 PM EDT

Cases at California’s San Quentin State Prison skyrocket with more than 300 inmates infected

Coronavirus cases at San Quentin State Prison in California’s Marin County climbed sharply to more than 300 active cases as of Monday evening.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s real-time covid-19 tracker, there are 317 cases in San Quentin, a massive increase from the 48 cases reported only eight days ago. It is more than double the number of reported cases 48 hours ago.

No deaths have been reported in San Quentin, but there is a growing distress that the virus will continue to spread with serious consequences. All of the reported cases have started to pop up after nearly 200 inmates from the California Institution for Men were transferred to San Quentin and Corcoran prisons, according to the Mercury News. The transfer plan was announced May 28.

Corcoran currently has 155 active infected inmates, while the California Institution for Men has 850. There are roughly 3,700 active confirmed coronavirus cases in California federal prisons, as of Monday. Nineteen inmates have died.

On Friday, a federal judge called the recent transfer of infected prisoners to the facility a “significant failure of policy and planning” in a live-streamed court hearing, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of Oakland said that many lives could be saved if they transfer the medically vulnerable prisoners to a new facility, use a furlough-like system of releases or allow some inmates to serve sentence at home.

Tigar, visibly distraught, did not order the state to release or relocate prisoners, saying he wasn’t sure he had that authority, the Chronicle reported.

“But I’m just saying, I think that needs to happen,” he said.

By Samantha Pell
June 22, 2020 at 9:19 PM EDT

MLB is set to implement terms of 2020 schedule after union votes down 60-game proposal

The bitter, months-long negotiation between Major League Baseball and its players’ union effectively ended Monday night when the union’s executive board voted to reject the owners’ last offer of a 60-game regular season and expanded postseason, and MLB responded by saying it intended to exercise its power to implement a 2020 schedule — which it will attempt to shoehorn into a dwindling calendar amid a global pandemic.

Should the sides sign off on the health and safety protocols for navigating the coronavirus outbreak, spring training camps could reopen July 1, with Opening Day about three weeks later and a regular season that could still be 60 games — but without the expanded postseason the sides had all but agreed to. MLB has insisted the season must end by Sept. 27, with the postseason contained to October, to guard against a second wave of the novel coronavirus wiping out the playoffs.

Read more here.

By Dave Sheinin
June 22, 2020 at 8:59 PM EDT

Apple’s new way to help stop the spread of coronavirus: Hand wash sensing mode

During its WWDC keynote Monday, Apple announced a new addition to its Watch to help users wash their hands the appropriate amount of time. With the update, the Watch will look out for the signs you’re at a sink, from the way you move your hands, to the sound of water swooshing by. Then the Watch will give you a countdown to make sure you spend the doctor-recommended amount of time cleaning away all those nasty germs.

The Apple Watch, already one of the most popular fitness trackers, is also getting smarter about tracking some other everyday activities — from sleeping to dancing.

By Geoffrey Fowler
June 22, 2020 at 8:45 PM EDT

Utah epidemiologist warns that state’s ‘only viable option’ is ‘complete shutdown’ if cases continue to surge

Utah’s state epidemiologist warned other officials that the state could be facing a “complete shutdown” if coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Dr. Angela Dunn wrote Friday to the leaders of the state’s coronavirus response that Utah was in the “acceleration phase” of a covid-19 outbreak in a memo obtained by The Washington Post. As of Monday, Utah has reported 17,906 overall cases since the pandemic began, with 444 new cases reported on Monday. The state has 158 total deaths, with 171 current hospitalizations.

“We are quickly getting to a point where the only viable option to manage spread and deaths will be a complete shutdown,” Dunn wrote. “This might be our last chance for course correction. Contact tracing and testing alone will not control this outbreak.”

Utah was one of the nine states that logged their record highs in seven-day averages of new reported cases (471) on Monday.

Dunn also noted in the memo that Intermountain Healthcare hospitals were forecast to exceed ICU capacity in July. University of Utah Health could surpass its capacity in “four to eight weeks," according to her memo.

In response to the memo, the office of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) released a statement saying he shares her “concern about the increased spread of the virus in our state."

“Her memo was prepared specifically to help frame key issues for this week’s leadership deliberations about how to address the surge in cases,” according to the statement. “Dr. Dunn will be a part of those consultations, and her analysis will be front and center in our meetings.”

Herbert’s office also emphasized that residents should follow “common sense guidelines for social distancing, good hand hygiene and especially the use of face coverings.”

By Samantha Pell
June 22, 2020 at 8:31 PM EDT

Activists halt street protests in South Carolina as some demonstrators become infected

South Carolina racial justice activists said they would postpone future demonstrations or move them online after at least 13 people who took part in previous protests tested positive for the coronavirus.

As the number of cases across the country continued to climb ominously Monday, organizers of “I Can’t Breathe” protests in South Carolina urged participants to get tested for the virus.

In a video posted Sunday on Facebook, organizer Lawrence Nathaniel said demonstrators who marched in Columbia, S.C., between May 30 and June 17 have tested positive. He said four organizers were confirmed infected, along with three photographers and six protesters.

“We need to do our part,” he said. “Go get tested. Don’t come to a protest until you get tested, okay?”

Read more here.

By Brittany Shammas, Chelsea Janes, Lateshia Beachum and Lenny Bernstein
June 22, 2020 at 8:21 PM EDT

Texas suspends alcohol permits for 12 bars for violating safety guidelines

Texas authorities temporarily suspended the alcohol permits of 12 bars for violating protocols designed to stem the coronavirus crisis in the state.

“Protecting the health and safety of Texans during this pandemic is our top priority,” Bentley Nettles, executive director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, said in a statement. “We warned businesses TABC will have no tolerance for breaking the rules, and now, some bars are paying the price. I hope other establishments will learn from these suspensions.”

The crackdown was part of Operation Safe Open, the commission’s undercover investigation. Businesses that violate guidelines will lose their licenses for up to 30 days. A second infraction would result in a penalty of up to 60 days.

Under the state’s reopening policy, the indoor customer capacity is 50 percent for bars and 75 percent for restaurants. Businesses also must enforce social distancing of at least six feet between groups of customers.

Three of the affected bars are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, three in Austin, two in greater Houston and two in El Paso and one each in Lubbock and McAllen.

By Steven Goff
June 22, 2020 at 7:59 PM EDT

Florida is crucial to the return of sports. It’s also a coronavirus hot spot.

Needing a place to resume its season, the NBA in early June announced it would sequester all 22 of its teams that will return to competition in Florida. The state had opened its arms to sports leagues, and Disney World offered requisite court space and lodging. Crucially, Florida’s novel coronavirus statistics were under control. And the NBA crafted a 113-page plan, praised by outside experts for its thoroughness and feasibility.

After months of toiling to salvage its season, the NBA had seemingly found a solution.

Now it has a problem.

“If you’d asked me two weeks ago, I would have said I thought it was sufficient,” said Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Oxford College of Emory University. “Now, I’m not so sure.”

Read more here.

By Adam Kilgore