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The daily coronavirus death toll in the United States increased this week after months of decline, as hospitals in hot-spot states were overwhelmed with new patients.

The U.S. reported its highest single-day infections — more than 67,000 cases — on Thursday. The United States reported more than 4,200 deaths in the past seven days, and experts warn that the trend could continue to get worse.

More than 131,000 people have died from coronavirus in the United States since the pandemic began, and at more than 3.1 million confirmed cases have been reported.

Here are some significant developments:

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New record in U.S. single-day infections; hospitalizations hit highs in nine states

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As the United States tallied its highest single-day infections, 67,149 cases, coronavirus hospitalizations peaked in nine states in the south and west on Friday.

The highest reported daily hospitalizations were in Texas, which counted 10,002, and California, 7,896. Forty-one states and Puerto Rico report current hospitalizations. Daily hospitalizations have been on the rise in 26 states since last week.

Eight states reported new records in daily coronavirus cases: Georgia, Ohio, Utah, Iowa, Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

Texas, South Carolina and California also reported an increase in average daily deaths, with the tolls in Arizona, Tennessee, Montana and Utah tied with their previous high. Nationwide, more than 4,000 people have died from coronavirus since last Friday.

Twenty-three states, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia reported an increase in their 7-day average in cases from this week compared to last week.

New York governor sends remdesivir to Florida after DeSantis declined help

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On the same day Florida reached another single-day high in coronavirus cases (11,433), New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) vowed to help the Sunshine State, even after its governor insisted that no help was needed.

In a statement Friday, Cuomo pledged to provide Florida with enough remdesivir to care for 280 covid-19 patients until the state can receive more aid.

“When New York was climbing the COVID mountain with no end in sight and resources were scarce, we were incredibly moved by the generosity of states around the country that stepped up to provide supplies and medical personnel in our time of need,” Cuomo said, adding, “I said at the time that we would return the favor if and when other states needed help.”

Remdesivir, which in May became the only therapy authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, shortened recovery times for hospitalized covid-19 patients in a clinical trial. The supply of the drug from New York would help Florida care for patients through Saturday, Cuomo wrote.

But as local media reported, Cuomo’s announcement comes just one day after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) told reporters he did not need help from New York, according to WKMG-TV. DeSantis asserted that Florida has what it needs. He confirmed he was working with the White House to get additional shipments of remdesivir.

DeSantis has previously criticized New York, which emerged as an early covid-19 hot spot in the United States.

“We got 6,000 ventilators, just you know, sitting idle, so we don’t necessarily need it. Look, I think that if you look at how Florida approached certain things like long- term-care facilities, you know, I think our approach was superior. We prohibited sick nursing home residents from being discharged back into the facilities, a lot of the other states did the opposite, and I think the results, you know were better in Florida,” DeSantis said, according to the station. “So I think, I think that approach is superior but, you know, we don’t need ventilators. We don’t need [personal protective equipment].

On Friday, DeSantis announced that Florida hospitals would be receiving 427 cases of the drug Saturday, WFLA reported. He did not say whether New York’s contribution was included in that total.

MLB gambled by converting anti-doping lab to coronavirus testing. Will it work?

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The idea at first sounded logical, practical, even inspired: To launch a 2020 season in the midst of a pandemic, Major League Baseball would convert a Utah lab it normally uses for anti-doping testing into a testing lab for the novel coronavirus. The benefits: an established relationship and the assurance that MLB would not be diverting critical resources from the general public.

But a little more than a week into summer camp training, as baseball careens toward a scheduled July 23 Opening Day, MLB’s testing process has been beset by problems, threatening to undermine players’ confidence in the safety of playing under these trying circumstances.

Read more here.

Pac-12 football teams will play a conference-only schedule this fall

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The Pac-12 announced Friday that several fall sports, including football, will only play conference games this year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Big Ten announced the same decision Thursday.

The Pac-12′s decision, which the conference said will delay the season’s start date, also affects men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. The conference is delaying the start of mandatory athletic activities.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”

Read more here.

Older Americans alarm their adult kids by playing bridge and getting haircuts

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When the pandemic began, Darcy Scott worried most about her parents, who are in their 80s and among the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. To keep them safe, her brother drove them 27 hours from Kerrville, Tex., to Churchton, Md., where Scott and her husband were hunkered down.

But after a couple of months, Texas started to open up and her parents wanted to go home. Scott’s brother drove them back, and since then, she has watched with growing dread as her parents have resumed many of their regular activities even as the infection rates there have climbed.

“Mom went back to the gym, to aqua aerobics. Dad went out to pick up the recycling around town,” Scott said. “So there you go, we expended 11 weeks of our lives and now our parents are wading around in a cesspool of germs.”

Many older Americans are sheltering in place and skipping social events in an effort to avoid the virus. But others have taken a more relaxed attitude, engaging in behavior that fills their middle-aged children with terror, for both their parents’ health and their own.

Read more here.

The MLS bubble will be a bellwether for sports’ return

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. — MLS came to Disney World to perform a high-wire act.

Amid a pandemic, the league is housing and testing close to 2,000 people in a single location; shuttling 26 teams (correction: 24) to a secured sports complex for practices at all hours; conducting matches daily on three spectator-free fields that are essentially sound stages for national TV; and coordinating with a conscientious player pool on social justice causes.

But after months of planning and precaution, MLS got off to a rough start this week when FC Dallas and Nashville SC were forced to withdraw because of virus outbreaks in their delegations. Dallas had 11 positive tests, Nashville nine.

With all teams on site — the last arrived early this week — and the incubation period threatening to reveal additional infections, MLS’s plan will face its truest test.

Read more here.

Disney set to reopen parks in Florida

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A critical test of the entertainment economy’s reopening plans will take place in the coming week as Disney begins allowing visitors to return to its Florida locations.

Saturday morning will see the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopen, with EPCOT and Hollywood Studios resuming business on Wednesday. Disney’s parks in Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong have all reopened in the past several months, and its Paris park is set to open next week as entertainment firms try to find a path through the summer of covid-19.

The Florida re-openings, however, represent a more high-stakes move — an opportunity for Disney to start recapturing much-needed revenue at home as well as a broader test of consumers’ willingness to leave their own homes during the pandemic.

The effort comes with challenges including a surge in covid-19 cases and objections from several constituencies.

Read more here.

CDC: Death toll is twice as high among people of color under age 65 as for white Americans

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The coronavirus proved substantially deadlier to people of color under the age of 65 than to their white counterparts in the early days of the pandemic, an in-depth analysis released Friday found.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the agency’s most comprehensive analysis of the demographics of those who died of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Researchers analyzed data for about 52,000 confirmed deaths between mid-February and mid-April.

Most of the people who died were older than 65, and most had underlying medical conditions. But researchers obtained more complete data on race, ethnicity and underlying conditions for a subset of about 10,000 people. Most of those deaths occurred in New York City, New Jersey and Washington state, three areas hardest hit at the dawn of the pandemic.

Read more here.

The college football season is in trouble

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The college football season, a rite of autumn and a revered American institution uninterrupted for 150 years, veered this week toward a grim fate as the novel coronavirus continued to surge.

When the spread of the virus put virtually all of sports on hold in March, many major college football leaders viewed the prospect of playing, perhaps even in full stadiums, through an optimistic lens. They had time and a financial imperative: The entire collegiate athletic system depends on the revenue generated by the sport’s lucrative television rights deals and ticket sales filling enormous on-campus stadiums.

Those hopes, which began to dissipate amid a flurry of positive tests as players returned to campuses for voluntary workouts, might be vanishing after a week of ominous signs and dire indications.

“We may not have college sports in the fall,” Warren said Thursday in an interview on the Big Ten Network. “We may not have a college football season in the Big Ten.”

Read more here.

Republican governors who opposed mask mandates start to soften

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Across the country, Republican governors who have opposed or even blocked orders mandating mask-wearing are watching from the sidelines as local officials impose strict measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Brian Kemp (R) deemed the Atlanta mayor’s order to wear masks “unenforceable,” but the governor has taken no legal action to stop the mask mandate.

“I stand by the enforceability of our ordinance, and that ordinance will be enforced in the same way we would enforce any other city ordinance,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) said. That includes on city-owned property: “The Atlanta airport — the world’s busiest airport — is owned and operated by the city.”

Bottoms said she decided to go through with the order after seeing that Kemp remained silent when the mayor of Savannah, also a Democrat, enacted a mask-wearing ordinance there.

Read more here.

Arizona governor ‘has blood on his hands,’ says author of obituary that blamed politicians for her father’s death

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When her father died of covid-19 last month, Kristin Urquiza minced no words assigning blame.

Mark Urquiza, 65, should still be alive, his daughter wrote in a forceful obituary, published in the Arizona Republic on Wednesday.

“His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk,” she wrote.

Kristin Urquiza said in an interview that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and the Trump administration are among the leaders she feels failed her father, a Phoenix resident who worked in manufacturing. Ducey, she said, “has blood on his hands.”

“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Mark Anthony Urquiza,” a Ducey spokesperson wrote in a statement Friday. “We know nothing can fully alleviate the pain associated with his loss, and every loss from this virus is tragic.”

Spokespeople for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mark Urquiza believed those politicians when they told Arizona residents it was safe to go out and resume their normal lives, his daughter said. In addition to continuing to do his job, which was deemed essential, she said he went out to see friends, even as she pleaded with him to stay home.

“Despite all of the effort that I had made to try to keep my parents safe, I couldn’t compete with the governor’s office and I couldn’t compete with the Trump administration,” Kristin Urquiza said.

She also wrote a letter to Ducey last week to ask him to attend her father’s funeral so that he could witness a consequence of what she called his “inaction and active denial” of the pandemic’s effects. Ducey’s office, she said, did not reply.

Georgia governor reactivates overflow hospital, Atlanta to fall back to Phase 1

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Georgia on Friday reported 4,484 new cases of the coronavirus — a new single-day case record, according to Washington Post tracking, and a massive spike from its previous high of 3,472 on July 2.

The state’s upward trend in covid-19 cases since mid-June is certainly cause for concern, and by all accounts, the state’s capital isn’t faring much better.

Local news outlets on Friday reported that the Atlanta will return to “Phase I” of its reopening guidelines, a drastic move as many states and jurisdictions have gradually eased restrictions. Phase I requires residents to stay at home except for essential travel and imposes strict social distancing guidelines, according to WSB-TV. The city had entered Phase II in May.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s office did not immediately return a request for comment from The Washington Post on the decision. Earlier this week, Bottoms tweeted that she tested positive for the coronavirus, and on Wednesday, she signed an executive order mandating facial coverings in the city.

In response to news of the rollback, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) tweeted that Bottoms’ actions were “merely guidance — both non-binding and legally unenforceable.”

“As clearly stated in my executive orders, no local action can be more or less restrictive, and that rule applies statewide,” he wrote. “If the Mayor actually wants to flatten the curve in Atlanta, she should start enforcing state restrictions, which she has failed to do.”

On Friday, Kemp’s office announced plans to reactive the Georgia World Congress Center into a temporary overflow hospital, local outlet WXIA-TV reported. The decision seeks to mitigate hospital strain, which has been exacerbated recently by elective procedures and surgeries that were rarely performed in May and April, according to the network.

The center was filled with hospital beds earlier in the pandemic but cleared out when overflow was deemed unnecessary, according to WXIA-TV.

Virginia Beach cases rising, especially among young people resisting masks

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) warned on Friday that the state is experiencing “a concerning increase” in coronavirus cases in Hampton Roads, a region with beach attractions and soaring infections among young people.

The state’s number of new cases outside that region has been mostly steady after steep declines stalled in mid-June, but eastern Virginia has gone in the other direction. The spike is especially notable in Virginia Beach, which on Friday added 116 cases — nearly double the daily high reached earlier in the week, and triple the previous peak of 37 on June 1.

Health officials in the city, known for its long boardwalk and oceanfront high-rises about an hour from the North Carolina border, say some young people have resisted wearing masks and, once infected, refused to cooperate with contact tracers. Coronavirus cases in the city for those age 29 and younger are up almost 250 percent since the last week of May.

Read more here.

‘It is not an optimal level of care’: With ICUs at capacity, Houston hospitals treat patients in their emergency rooms

10:17 p.m.
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As Houston hospitals’ intensive care units have filled, emergency room workers have been forced to treat a surge of new coronavirus patients and are increasingly warning paramedics that they cannot safely accept incoming patients, NBC and ProPublica reported Friday.

Faced with the state’s reopening and a rise in coronavirus hospitalizations, many Texas hospitals are struggling to add capacity to treat covid-19 patients as well as others.

Over the past month, hospitalizations have quadrupled in Harris County, which includes Houston, according to data from the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council. In an area encompassing Houston, there are 1,768​​​​​​​ hospital beds and 98 ICU beds available as of Friday, according to state data. The state reported 9,765 new infections Friday.

Patients who would normally be evaluated in the emergency room before being sent elsewhere in the hospital for specialized care have nowhere to go at some of Houston’s busiest hospitals.

“Normally that patient would just go to an ICU bed, but because there are no beds available, they continue to board in the emergency room,” Esmaeil Porsa, president and chief executive of Harris Health System, told NBC. “It is not an optimal level of care. This is not something we would choose to do. The only reason this is happening is because we are being forced to do it.”

Houston hospitals have turned away, or diverted, patients as they strain to care for those overflowing into their emergency rooms.

The Houston Fire Department told NBC that Memorial Hermann’s northeast hospital had diverted 58 percent of responding ambulances during an eight-day period in late June and early July, while its diversion status was 2 percent at the same time last year. Harris Health’s Ben Taub Hospital, the city’s busiest public hospital, has diverted 81 percent compared with 58 percent last year.