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The United States set a record for new covid-19 cases for the third time in three days, passing the 40,000 mark for the first time, according to tracking by The Washington Post. Thirteen states set their own records for the average number of new cases reported over the past seven days: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Idaho, Washington and Utah.

Six states set new single-day highs, led by Florida with 8,942 cases, more than 60 percent higher than its previous high set on Wednesday. Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho and Utah also set new single-day records.

Florida announced Friday morning that bars must close immediately, a move echoed by Texas, a state also dealing with a surge in cases and nearing its capacity to care for those suffering. Both states are backtracking amid a crisis of rising hospitalizations and skyrocketing infection rates.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order that revives restrictions on bars, restaurants and certain types of outdoor recreation, one day after suggesting he would not.

Nationally, 44,702 new infections were reported by state health departments on Friday, surpassing the previous record, 39,327, set a day earlier.

Here are some significant developments:

  • A federal judge in California on Friday ordered the release of migrant children being held with their parents at the country’s three family detention facilities, citing coronavirus outbreaks at two of the centers.
  • The Dow Jones industrial average slid 730.05 points, about 2.8 percent, as rising coronavirus infections roiled investors Friday.
  • Vice President Pence said during a White House coronavirus task force news briefing that it is “very encouraging news” that half of the increasing cases in Florida and Texas are among Americans under 35, because younger people tend to have less-serious outcomes.
  • The Trump administration official coordinating tests for the novel coronavirus did a partial pivot Friday, announcing that the government would briefly extend its management of five testing sites in Texas, a state with a recent spike of cases and hospitalizations.
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease doctor, urged Americans to see their role in taking safety precautions as a “societal responsibility.” He begged them not to let their guards down even if the risk to their own health is considered minimal, because they can still transport it.
  • In another sign that hopes of a swift economic recovery may be losing steam, the number of homeowners delaying their mortgage payments shot up by 79,000.
  • Portugal is reinstating lockdown measures for about 700,000 people in 19 civil parishes around Lisbon next week after a worrying rise in cases in communities in the capital’s outskirts.

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June 27, 2020 at 1:22 PM EDT

Judge orders Trump administration to release children from family detention due to virus

A federal judge in California on Friday ordered the release of migrant children being held with their parents at the country’s three family detention facilities, citing coronavirus outbreaks at two of the centers.

U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee ruled that children held for more than 20 days at the centers in Texas and Pennsylvania must be released with their parents or transferred to family sponsors by July 17. There were 124 juveniles in the centers, run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as of June 8, the order said.

Gee criticized the government for not appropriately implementing public health recommendations at its detention facilities. The centers, she wrote, “are ‘on fire’ and there is no more time for half measures.”

Not every child will necessarily be released. The absence of a suitable sponsor or a parent’s refusal to permit their child to be transferred to a sponsor are considered acceptable reasons to continue detaining a child, according to Gee’s order.

Advocates have called for entire families to be released, especially because detention centers are conducive to spreading the virus, the Associated Press reported. At least 11 people being held at the facility in Karnes City, Tex., have tested positive, Gee’s order said, while four employees at the center in Dilley, Tex., were found to have the virus and detainees’ test results are pending.

Peter Schey, an attorney representing the children, said he and the other lawyers will discuss with the government how ICE will assess each parent’s wishes and make sure children are released to family members when that is a parent’s desire.

“Some detained parents facing deportation brought their children to this country to save them from rampant violence in their home countries and would prefer to see their child released to relatives here rather than being deported with the parent to countries where children are routinely kidnapped, beaten, and killed,” Schey said in a statement.

In a statement Saturday, a spokesperson for ICE said the agency is reviewing Gee’s order.

Maria Sacchetti contributed to this report.

By Marisa Iati
June 26, 2020 at 10:56 PM EDT

Flood of hikers, protective gear requirements could pose challenges for search-and-rescue teams

A lot of hikers get hurt in the backcountry each year. Sometimes, they’re fortunate enough to walk or limp back to their car on their own, like Todd Levin did in Kings Canyon National Park in California. But if a hiker snaps an ankle or suffers heat exhaustion and loses the ability to walk out of the wild unassisted, they must find some way to inform local authorities about their predicament.

Then the situation becomes a search-and-rescue (SAR) operation: SAR providers — who could be employees of state agencies or local volunteers — organize a rescue party, rustle up the requisite medical gear for the mission, and clomp into the wild to find the injured hiker, treat their injuries and transport them out of the backcountry to the nearest regional hospital.

This year, however, SAR resources are facing two new challenges created by the novel coronavirus.

Read more here.

By Mike Howard
June 26, 2020 at 10:17 PM EDT

Journalist who covered Trump’s rally in Tulsa tests positive for coronavirus

Oklahoma Watch reporter Paul Monies was notified Friday that he tested positive for the coronavirus, nearly week after covering President Trump’s rally in Tulsa.

“I’m pretty surprised,” Monies tweeted. “I have zero symptoms (so far) and I feel fine. In fact, I ran 5 miles this morning.”

Monies wrote on Twitter that there was a “good chance” he could have got infected while covering the rally, where he notes he did wear a mask the entire time. Monies told the Associated Press that he has not been contacted yet by contact tracers to try and determine everyone who he has been in contact with over the last two weeks.

Instead, he has personally started to reach out to individuals he has been close to in the past 14 days.

Health officials had warned that the indoor venue and crowd in Tulsa could help spread the coronavirus, putting attendees and others at risk.

“I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event,” Bruce Dart, the director of Tulsa’s health department, told the Tulsa World before the rally. “And I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe.”

By Samantha Pell
June 26, 2020 at 9:55 PM EDT

Europe prepares to reopen to foreign travelers, but Americans don’t even figure into the discussion

BRUSSELS — European diplomats are poised to approve an agreement on which foreign travelers they want to welcome starting on July 1, as the European Union reopens its external borders for the first time since March, but with the coronavirus still raging in the United States, the possibility of allowing American tourists hasn’t even figured into the discussion, according to six diplomats familiar with the talks.

Europe’s draft in-and-out list reflects its assessment of how well other countries have managed to control their outbreaks. E.U. countries were among the world’s hardest hit by the pandemic this spring, but most now have the virus under control and have been willing to consider opening their borders to other countries where the novel coronavirus is similarly in check.

China is among the 15 countries set to make the cut, despite E.U. skepticism about how transparent it has been about its outbreak. Visitors from China would be allowed to enter Europe only if Beijing drops measures against E.U. travelers.

Read more here.

By Michael Birnbaum and Quentin Ariès
June 26, 2020 at 9:40 PM EDT

Miami-Dade beaches to close over Fourth of July holiday weekend

Beaches in Miami-Dade County in Florida will close over the Fourth of July weekend out of concerns for social distancing amid the pandemic.

Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez released a statement Friday saying that he will sign an executive order closing all county beaches starting July 3 through July 7 and will also restrict any gatherings and parades of more than 50 people during that time. In those situations, masks and social distancing are required, and five groups of no more than 10 people will be allowed.

Additionally, residents will be limited to their homes or parked vehicles for viewing fireworks shows, as parks will be off limits.

“As we continue to see more COVID-19 positive test results among young adults and rising hospitalizations, I have decided that the only prudent thing to do to tamp down this recent uptick is to crack down on recreational activities that put our overall community at higher risk,” Gimenez wrote in his statement.

Gimenez said the Miami-Dade Police Department will close establishments that are flaunting the social distancing and mask rules and capacity limits. Additionally, violators could face a second-degree criminal penalty of up to $500 and 180 days in jail.

“I have been seeing too many businesses and people ignoring these lifesaving rules,” Gimenez wrote in his statement. “If people are not going to be responsible and protect themselves and others from this pandemic, then the government is forced to step in and restore common sense to save lives.”

By Samantha Pell
June 26, 2020 at 9:21 PM EDT

Six states see record number of new cases

As the United States logged a record number of infections Friday, six states announced record-high single-day case totals. The states: Georgia, Utah, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho and Florida.

Georgia reported four straight days of more than 1,700 new daily infections and two days in a row of records. The 1,900 cases reported by state health officials Friday surpassed the previous record, 1,714 cases, announced Thursday.

The seven-day average of new infections also hit a new high — 1,569 — and has been rising steadily since late May. That figure is up about 77 percent from a week ago and nearly 115 percent since Memorial Day.

In Utah, the single-day case total hit 676 and set a record for the fourth day in a row. The rolling average has also been on a steady upward swing for 10 days.

Hospitalizations of confirmed covid-19 patients in Utah are rising quickly, from 149 a week ago to 174 on Friday. Hospitalizations were at 102 when the month began.

South Carolina’s 1,301 new cases and its rolling average of 1,094 also set records. The state started the month with an average of 281 daily cases.

Tennessee announced 1,410 new infections, surpassing its previous single-day record by more than 200 cases.

Hospitalizations also are rising in South Carolina and Tennessee.

Idaho announced 283 new cases, up from its previous high of 243, set Wednesday.

Record-high seven-day case averages were reported by thirteen states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington.

In addition to the states that set records, Louisiana has joined the states with rapidly increasing case numbers. Health officials announced 1,354 new cases Friday, compared with 523 two weeks ago and none in the two weeks before that.

By Marisa Iati and Jacqueline Dupree
June 26, 2020 at 9:05 PM EDT

Texas governor admits the state reopened bars too early

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) admitted Friday that he reopened bars too soon in the state as cases continue to surge.

“If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars now seeing the aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spreads in the bar setting,” Abbott said in an evening interview with KVIA in El Paso.

Abbott issued an executive order Friday that said bars should be shuttered by noon to all but carryout and drive-through customers, while restaurants, which are currently running at 75 percent, must scale back their operating capacity to 50 percent by Monday. Bars in Texas were permitted to open at 25 percent capacity in mid-May, and it only increased from there.

When asked why he didn’t shut down bars earlier, Abbott said he decided to issue the order on Friday because officials “didn’t want to wind up with something like mass gatherings that would spread even more.”

On Friday, Texas reported 5,707 new cases. It is the fourth day in a row that the state has reported more than 5,000 cases. The state set a single-day record high with 5,996 on Thursday. Texas hospitalizations have now crossed the 5,000 mark, with the state reporting 5,102 current coronavirus-related patients.

Around the state, hospitals are expanding capacity in anticipation of a surge in patients come mid-July.

“People go to bars to get close and to drink and to socialize, and that is the type of thing that stokes the spread of the coronavirus. . . . So sure, in hindsight it would have been better to slow the opening of the bar setting,” Abbott said.

By Samantha Pell
June 26, 2020 at 9:00 PM EDT

Fauci says rapid uptick in cases in specific communities is a ‘disturbing trend’

The surge of infections happening in several states is a “disturbing trend” that complicates locating the source of an outbreak, Anthony S. Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease expert, said Friday.

In an interview with Los Angeles-based radio station KNX 1070, Fauci said determining how the virus is spreading in a particular place is complicated by the fact that scientists now think that 20 to 40 percent of those infected — particularly young people — have no symptoms.

Isolating infected people and tracing their contacts is insufficient, he said, and should be combined with sending workers who are knowledgeable about the virus into the affected communities to help people understand why they should get tested.

“We need to kind of flood the system, not only with testing, but we need to flood it with workers who understand the community, people that are trusted in the community, to be able to figure out what’s going on here,” Fauci said.

Fauci said the virus’s quick spread in states including Florida, Texas and California can be attributed to the actions of governments and residents — societal responsibility and personal responsibility. A state’s leadership may have adhered to public-health advice in reopening, but Fauci said residents can ruin that progress by treating precautions as all-or-nothing.

Although visiting a crowded bar without a mask is unlikely to kill most young people, he urged the public to consider how their actions affect those at higher risk.

“You’re either part of the problem, or you’re part of the solution,” Fauci said.

By Marisa Iati
June 26, 2020 at 8:38 PM EDT

Rise in cases forces San Francisco to slow its reopening

San Francisco is temporarily delaying reopening steps scheduled for Monday amid the rapid rise in cases throughout the city, Mayor London Breed (D) said.

Monday was supposed to mark the reopening of businesses such as outdoor bars, hair salons, barber shops, zoos, museums, tattoo parlors, massage parlors and nail salons.

Breed made the announcement Friday while at San Francisco General Hospital. She also posted the decision on Twitter, writing that the city’s reopening process is “guided by data and science.” She noted that though San Francisco still has a low number of cases overall, the count was “rising rapidly.”

Thursday, the city recorded 103 positive cases, Breed said. On June 15, when the city reopened outdoor dining and in-store retail, only 20 cases were reported.

“At our current rate, the number could double rapidly,” Breed wrote in a tweet. “If that continues & we don’t intervene, we’ll be at such a high number that our only option would be to shut down.”

As of Friday, San Francisco County had reported a total of 3,252 confirmed coronavirus infections and 48 deaths caused by covid-19. California reported 4,890 new cases Friday for a total of 200,461.

By Samantha Pell
June 26, 2020 at 8:21 PM EDT

Disney moves ‘Mulan’ to August as Hollywood throws in the towel on July

And then there were none.

“Mulan,” the last major Hollywood movie set to come out in July, has been postponed by Disney. It will now come out on Aug. 21, at the tail end of summer, with the hope of catching fire and playing through September.

The move means that the month of July — which in recent years has seen mega-blockbusters from “The Lion King” to “The Dark Knight,” “Transformers” to many “Harry Potter” films — will not have a major new movie for the first time in the modern era. On Thursday, Warner Bros. moved “Tenet,” its Christopher Nolan film with high commercial hopes, from July to Aug. 12.

The postponement dashes the hopes of theater-owners, studios and many consumers of a cinematic revival this summer after a nearly four-month shutdown due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Read the story here.

By Steven Zeitchik
June 26, 2020 at 7:47 PM EDT

NBA forges ahead with plans for Disney restart: ‘No options are risk-free’

The NBA’s show will go on near Orlando next month despite a dramatic rise in novel coronavirus cases in Florida as well as player concerns about social justice issues.

After weeks of talks, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced Friday that they have finalized plans for the resumption of the season within a protected bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. The plan, which calls for 22 teams to begin traveling to Florida on July 7 and to begin games July 30, was agreed to in principle June 5 but was threatened both by the spread of the coronavirus and by a group of players who felt resuming games might distract from the nationwide protests of racial injustice after George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league and the players’ union share the belief that their “deliberate, intentional and collaborative” plan will provide a safe environment even though Florida reported nearly 9,000 new cases Friday.

Read more here.

By Ben Golliver
June 26, 2020 at 7:37 PM EDT

American Airlines announces social distancing on flights will end July 1

After capping the number of people on flights since April, American Airlines announced Friday that its planes will likely be full in a few days.

“As more people continue to travel, customers may notice that flights are booked to capacity starting July 1,” the airline said in a news release. “American will continue to notify customers and allow them to move to more open flights when available, all without incurring any cost.”

The carrier said passengers could potentially — if there’s room, and if there are no restrictions due to weight or balance — move to other seats in the cabin if they’re seated next to someone they don’t know.

Read more here.

By Hannah Sampson
June 26, 2020 at 7:19 PM EDT

Infections surge among Texas first responders as cases jump statewide

Public-safety officials in two of Texas’s biggest cities reported this week that dozens of firefighters and police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus as cases rise quickly across the state.

In Houston, where officials said the outbreak was getting “out of control,” 186 firefighters are quarantined because of exposure to the virus — an increase of more than 150 percent from three weeks ago — and at least 104 firefighters have tested positive. Of those who had confirmed infections, 54 had returned to work, Chief Samuel Peña said.

“Taking over 200 firefighters out of the game, so to speak, is having an impact on our ability to service this community,” he said at a news conference Friday.

Meanwhile, Houston police said 205 officers have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began. One hundred fifty-eight officers are quarantined, 130 of whom have confirmed infections.

Eleven police detectives in Dallas tested positive between last Friday and Tuesday evening, the Dallas Morning News reported. Twenty more employees who work in units with the infected officers have been quarantined as a precaution or while they await test results, according to the newspaper.

The announcements come as the coronavirus spreads quickly across Texas, which started June with a rolling average of 1,273 cases and reported 4,903 on Friday. Hospitalizations have also shot up in recent days: 5,102 people were hospitalized as of Friday, compared with 3,148 a week ago.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) reimposed restrictions on bars, restaurants and some types of outdoor recreation in response to the surge in infections and a growing number of hospitalizations.

By Marisa Iati
June 26, 2020 at 6:40 PM EDT

Philadelphia issues mandatory mask order as city considers delaying reopening plans

Philadelphia officials issued a mandatory mask order Friday as the city also considered delaying future reopening plans, according to the city’s top health official.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Friday that the city has averaged more than 100 positive coronavirus cases per day in the past week — an increase compared with what the city had previously been seeing — and reported 143 new cases Friday, totaling 25,693 since the beginning of the epidemic.

“The news about the epidemic is very much mixed,” Farley said. “The first wave of the epidemic appears to be ending and at the same time, a second wave is beginning, so we all need to be concerned.”

While Philadelphia continued with its planned reopening Friday of residential swim clubs, private pools, barbershops and nail salons, Farley said the city is reconsidering other activities for a future phase that was set to start July 3.

Officials will continue to monitor the epidemic over the weekend. As of Friday, the city had not seen a decrease in cases over four weeks, and officials were not sure the city could meet the daily case targets needed to move into the next phase.

“Right now, we are not ready” to go to the next phase, Farley said, adding, “We may need to pause on starting those activities.”

Regarding the mask order, Farley said it is for all indoor public places and outdoors where people cannot be less than six feet apart. The order will not be enforced by police, Farley said. Officials are also asking residents to avoid social gatherings, because the city has also seen community spread.

By Samantha Pell