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Massachusetts on Tuesday reported zero coronavirus-related deaths and only 114 new cases, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. There were 733 current hospitalizations in the Massachusetts as of Tuesday afternoon, down from around 4,000 at the state’s coronavirus peak in late April.

The U.S. added 44,474 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, its second-highest day since the pandemic began. While six states reached new single-day highs in cases — Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Idaho and Alaska — 45 states reported seven-day averages of new cases that were greater than one week ago.

At least 124,000 people have died of covid-19 in the United States. Nearly 10.3 million cases have been detected worldwide, with roughly 2.6 million infections reported in the U.S.

Here are some significant developments:

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June 30, 2020 at 11:35 PM EDT

At the county level, the pandemic’s resurgence is even more concerning

Over the past two weeks, the average number of new coronavirus cases recorded in the United States each day has nearly doubled, rising from a seven-day average of 21,562 on June 15 to an average of 39,753 new cases per day by June 29.

President Trump retweeted a tweet Tuesday suggesting that the rate of positive coronavirus tests was actually decreasing — a claim that’s not true. His administration has repeatedly pointed to the relatively small geographic representation of emerging coronavirus hotspots, identifying no more than 4 percent of U.S. counties as places experiencing new outbreaks.

On Monday, the Associated Press made an important point about that claim: the 4 percent of counties identified by the administration adds up to more than a fifth of the country’s population.

Read more here.

By Philip Bump
June 30, 2020 at 11:19 PM EDT

Fed’s Powell warns lawmakers not to become complacent in dealing with coronavirus

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell said Tuesday that the path ahead for the U.S. economy remains “extraordinarily uncertain” and that the recovery will largely depend on containing the coronavirus pandemic and reassuring Americans that it is safe to resume their former lives.

Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Powell said the economy may be showing signs of progress as hiring resumes and consumer spending rebounded last month. However, he said that “while this bounce-back in economic activity is welcome, it also presents new challenges — notably, the need to keep the virus in check.”

Powell’s cautious assessment of the U.S. economy comes as senior Trump administration officials enthusiastically tout the rebound. At the same hearing, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pointed to an 18 percent increase in retail sales and cited U.S. Chamber of Commerce data showing close to 80 percent of small businesses are “at least partially” open. On Monday, senior White House economist Larry Kudlow said that the “overwhelming” evidence pointed to a V-shaped recovery.

Read more here.

By Rachel Siegel and Jeff Stein
June 30, 2020 at 10:44 PM EDT

The new corporate swag: Branded masks, sanitizer spray bottles and Zoom vanity light rings

Nasdaq ordered 1,800 masks with its logo and the phrase “NasdaqStrong” for when employees return to the office. A team at the software firm Atlassian ordered gift packages for workers that included a mask with a product logo alongside a chocolate bar, a pen and other goodies. The insurance tech start-up Lemonade ordered masks branded with its new ticker symbol for executives to wear when they ring the bell for their IPO, according to a supplier.

As some businesses reopen and others try to stay in touch with employees working from home, companies are opting for coronavirus-related corporate swag — branded sanitizer bottles, “clean key” tools for pressing elevator buttons and, above all, masks — joining the tote bags, travel mugs and USB flash drives that have long defined company giveaways.

“It feels like 70 percent of our orders has a mask in it,” said Michael Martocci, founder and chief executive of SwagUp, despite not prominently promoting masks on his site. “Everybody wants it.” (Lemonade, citing “quiet period” rules preceding an IPO, declined to comment.)

Read more here.

By Jena McGregor
June 30, 2020 at 10:19 PM EDT

Protests probably didn’t lead to coronavirus spikes, but it’s hard to know for sure

When the killing of George Floyd drew tens of thousands of protesters into the streets of America’s largest cities, many of those streets had been empty for weeks.

Restrictions had left family members unable to attend the funerals of relatives for fear of spreading the novel coronavirus. Shutdowns sent businesses into bankruptcy.

But after Floyd’s death, the streets filled with people shouting and yelling in proximity — sparking concerns among public health experts and local officials who had been urging people during the pandemic to stay at home or to engage in social distancing.

Now, some public health officials and disease trackers say there appears to be scant evidence the protests sparked widespread outbreaks. Others say that because many states reopened about the same time as the protests, and because of the limits of contact tracing, they simply can’t say for sure.

Read more here.

By Chelsea Janes
June 30, 2020 at 9:53 PM EDT

Massachusetts reports zero coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday

While cases and hospitalizations are climbing in states such as Arizona, Texas and Florida, reports of new infections in the Northeast have been low on a per capita basis since mid-June. And on Tuesday, Massachusetts reported zero coronavirus-related deaths, or probable deaths, and 114 new cases, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.

The rate of positive test results is also low in the state, decreasing from 1.9 percent on Sunday to 1.8 percent on Monday. There were 733 current hospitalizations in the state as of Tuesday afternoon, down from about 4,000 at the state’s coronavirus peak in late April.

Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Tuesday continued to urge people to take precautions and prevent the spread by wearing face masks, washing their hands frequently and social distancing.

“We do not want to take one step forward and two steps back as we keep climbing out of this horrific pandemic,” Baker said at a news conference.

By Angela Fritz
June 30, 2020 at 9:49 PM EDT

Hospitalizations, cases rise as states continue to report record highs

As the United States experienced its second-highest day for new cases since the start of the pandemic, the coronavirus continued its spread to even remote locations.

On Tuesday, there were 44,474 new reported cases across the nation, trailing only June 27, which saw 44,792 cases. Overall, the United States has reached a high count in its seven-day average of new cases for 22 days in a row.

While six states reached new highs in single-day cases, a whopping 45 states reported seven-day averages of new cases that were greater than the numbers from a week ago, according to data collected by The Washington Post.

Of those states, Alaska saw one of its peak days in the pandemic. Since May, Alaska has had few hospitalizations related to covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, mostly hovering in the teens and only eclipsing 20 a few times. However, as June came to a close, the state’s hospitalizations have precipitously spiked. On Tuesday, Alaska set a statewide record with 35 current hospitalizations, an increase of a dozen since Monday.

Still, the epidemic has hit mainland states to higher degrees. With 6,533 current inpatient hospitalizations due to the virus, Texas stands as the only state to report a current average at least 40 percent higher than its average from seven days ago. Over the past 24 hours, Colorado (271) has seen a 16 percent rise in hospitalizations, while those in Virginia (902) and Iowa (133) have increased by 13 and 12 percent, respectively.

Dane County, Wis., with 1,873 current cases, is the only Midwestern jurisdiction among the top 10 counties with the largest percentage increase in case averages since a week ago. Counties in Florida and Texas dominate the list of counties with spiking cases.

By Candace Buckner and Jacqueline Dupree
June 30, 2020 at 9:46 PM EDT

Minor League Baseball cancels 2020 season

With no players to fill rosters, no major television contracts to generate revenue and no way to put fans in seats, Minor League Baseball bowed to the inevitable Tuesday and canceled its 2020 season, which had already been delayed by nearly three months by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The cancellation, first reported by Baseball America on Tuesday, came following a meeting of Minor League Baseball’s board of trustees. The organization released a statement confirming the decision Tuesday evening.

Read more here.

By Dave Sheinin
June 30, 2020 at 9:25 PM EDT

New data reveal how many poor Americans were deprived of $500 stimulus pay

The Cares Act provides economic impact payments up to $1,200 for individuals and up to $2,400 for taxpayers filing a joint tax return. The law also includes an extra $500 for each child under 17.

But the distribution has been plagued by glitches — including missing or incorrect payments for dependent children. And these $500 payments were supposed to go to some of the most economically fragile Americans.

A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the IRS made $1.4 billion in stimulus payments to dead people. The report also revealed that from April 10 to May 17, some stimulus payment calculations did not include additional money for qualifying children, even though the recipients had correctly submitted information about their dependents to the IRS. The incomplete payments went to people who aren’t required to file a federal tax return because of their low income.

As a result, IRS officials said hundreds of thousands of low-income people did not receive the money they were due for dependent children.

Read more here.

By Michelle Singletary
June 30, 2020 at 9:08 PM EDT

‘We just need some more optimism’: Rand Paul’s crusade against Anthony Fauci takes a curious turn

A month and a half ago, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) clashed with infectious-disease agency head Anthony S. Fauci over his expertise on the coronavirus. Paul urged the White House coronavirus task force member to stop pretending to be the “end-all” and to try out a little “humility” when it came to his warnings about the disease.

Today, despite coronavirus cases resurging across the United States after people and states declined to heed Fauci’s and health officials’ advice, Paul had a new plea for Fauci: How about a little optimism?

In perhaps the most animated exchange of Tuesday’s Senate hearing, Paul unleashed an extensive diatribe against keeping kids out of school and day care. Toward the end of it, he told Fauci, “We need to not be so presumptuous that we know everything.” He criticized Fauci for his comments about the potential for not playing Major League Baseball in October, at which point Fauci warned that flu season could collide with a continued coronavirus outbreak.

Read more here.

By Aaron Blake
June 30, 2020 at 8:30 PM EDT

Republican leaders now say everyone should wear a mask — even as Trump refuses

The last Republican vice president, Richard B. Cheney, and his Wyoming congresswoman daughter, Liz, say wearing masks is manly.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says there should be no stigma associated with covering one’s face as public health experts advise, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says doing so is essential to fully reopening the economy.

The GOP-led city of Jacksonville — which President Trump recently selected to host many of the Republican National Convention festivities in part because of its relatively lax public health restrictions — is now mandating people wear masks in indoor public spaces. And even Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy, two of Trump’s most fervent and loyal boosters on Fox News Channel, have joined the chorus of mask advocates.

The president has refused to trumpet his own administration’s recommendation that people cover their faces, nor has he set an example by wearing a mask at public events. In fact, he has used his bully pulpit to mock others who do and to cast doubt on the efficacy of masks.

Read more here.

By Philip Rucker and Seung Min Kim
June 30, 2020 at 8:06 PM EDT

Arizona health and fitness clubs pledge to stay open despite governor’s orders to close

Gyms and fitness centers across Arizona are defying Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s shutdown guidelines and pledging to stay open as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to rise.

After Arizona set records for current hospitalizations, Ducey ordered all bars, gyms, entertainment theaters and water parks to close for at least the next 30 days. However, on Tuesday, Life Time Athletic, which bills itself as an upscale fitness club, informed members of its decision to reopen its fitness floors for programs and classes on July 1. Members will be able to access the spa, pools, saunas, steam rooms and locker rooms, to name a few of the club’s amenities.

“We believe providing access to these services — with proper social distance, on regularly-cleaned equipment, and in masks as appropriate — is vital to allow individuals to maintain their overall health,” chief executive Jeff Zwiefel wrote in a letter obtained by The Washington Post.

While Life Time plans to open its doors Wednesday, another Arizona gym has taken it a step further. In response to Ducey’s order, Mountainside Fitness chief executive Tom Hatten held a news conference at one of his fully operational sites — as several members walked on treadmills in the background — to announce his intention to sue the governor.

Overall, nine Arizona-based health clubs have remained open. That decision has not pleased all members.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) tweeted Life Time to announce that she will cancel her membership at the Biltmore location.

“Absolutely irresponsible. We are in a health crisis, folks. Don’t go to the sauna,” Sinema wrote on Twitter.

By Candace Buckner and Jacqueline Dupree
June 30, 2020 at 7:45 PM EDT

Caregivers on the front lines in nursing homes risk health, safety during pandemic

In the parking lot of an assisted-living center in southern Illinois, Shalla McBride sat in a Buick stocked with hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes and prayed for her mother to watch over her.

In mid-May, two weeks after her mother died and with an asthmatic toddler at home, McBride pushed open her car door. She had spent 18 months as a resident assistant in the assisted-living center, working, much like her mother, to care for the residents who needed her. McBride said she decided it was no time to quit, despite the risks.

More than four months into the pandemic, nursing home caregivers say they have been largely left to fend for themselves even as coronavirus outbreaks continue to overwhelm facilities across the country.

Read more here.

By Shawn Mulcahy, Areeba Shah and Joel Jacobs
June 30, 2020 at 7:37 PM EDT

Physicians call on Pence, FEMA to address PPE shortage amid reopening

The American Medical Association on Tuesday called on Vice President Pence and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to immediately address “ongoing shortage and access issues related to personal protective equipment (PPE) in ambulatory settings,” namely physician practices.

In its letter to the vice president, the AMA urged Pence to invoke the Defense Production Act to ensure sufficient PPE for physicians as their practices reopen across the country. As physicians get back to work and return to offering non-emergency medical services and procedures, they have told the AMA they face “ongoing shortages of PPE, especially N95 masks and gowns,” which largely have been redirected to coronavirus hot spots.

Physicians in ambulatory environments previously didn’t need the PPE that they require today, the AMA said. And typically, smaller practices get boxed out by larger institutions that have greater demand for the equipment.

“As a result, even when physicians find a vendor with available supply, they end up losing to larger institutions with more bargaining power and placing more substantial orders,” the AMA wrote. “PPE is needed for all types of health care sites, including ambulatory settings. We need to ensure the safety of patients, physicians and their staff.”

In its letter to FEMA, the AMA said it has not been able to find a resolution to address these issues despite growing concerns from physicians about available supplies. It said the administration had not provided data that clarifies whether the PPE shortage comes from the availability of raw material, production backlogs, gaps in distribution systems or a combination.

“It seems like there are no federal or state agencies monitoring or working to resolve this problem,” the AMA wrote to FEMA. “We urge FEMA to work with us to provide additional assistance to these non-hospital physicians in securing PPE, disinfectants and sanitizers.”

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 30, 2020 at 7:05 PM EDT

Bars in Virginia, Delaware cannot reopen as planned; Colorado bars shut down again

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced Wednesday that bar seating inside restaurants and taverns will not be included in the state’s next phase of reopening, which begins Wednesday. Northam’s decision comes after Delaware’s governor said bars in his state’s beach communities would be shut down again amid a spike in coronavirus infections.

Northam’s office said people will not be allowed to congregate in bar areas in restaurants unless they are eating at high-top tables that are at least six feet apart. Officials have cited bars as sources of coronavirus outbreaks in other states.

Virginia is moving into a third, more expansive phase of reopening Wednesday amid concerns over a resurgence of coronavirus infections and deaths that includes an outbreak among younger Loudoun County residents back from a recent “beach week” gathering in South Carolina.

In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis (D) closed bars and nightclubs again as cases in the state spike, the Denver Post reported. Bars that serve food may stay open and function as restaurants, the governor said, as long as they keep groups of patrons at least six feet apart.

“Whether you personally go to bars or not, just understand that they are important for many people in our state … but there is not a way that we have found for them to be a reasonably safe part of people’s lives during the month of July in our state,” Polis said.

Bars will have 48 hours to close, the Denver Post reported. They can still sell alcohol on a delivery or to-go basis.

By Antonio Olivo, Patricia Sullivan, Rebecca Tan and Angela Fritz