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The country’s most populous state took steps Monday to roll back efforts to reopen its economy amid a surge in new coronavirus cases.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ordered the statewide closure of all bars and halted the indoor operations of restaurants, wineries, theaters and a handful of other venues. The move comes as a number of governors elsewhere are also announcing new mandates and pausing reopenings, with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) banning private indoor gatherings of more than 10 people and requiring face coverings outside.

The fresh round of restrictions echoes the early days of the pandemic, when states shuttered businesses in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Here are some significant developments:

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July 13, 2020 at 11:18 PM EDT

The NBA has arrived at Disney. Here’s what it looks like inside the Florida bubble.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The NBA’s sci-fi plan to construct a restricted bubble in hopes of completing a nearly lost season became a humid, frenzied and anxious reality this weekend, as 22 teams moved into their new Disney World digs amid a drastic spike in novel coronavirus cases in Florida.

This was the world’s tallest freshman orientation. Seven-footers, with NBA-branded bracelets to access their rooms on their wrists, emerged from a 36-hour mandated quarantine and tried to familiarize themselves with the largely empty and lake-dotted grounds. They shuttled from ballrooms that have been transformed into makeshift practice courts to their hotels, whose stores hawked Mickey Mouse basketball jerseys.

Read more here.

By Ben Golliver
July 13, 2020 at 10:55 PM EDT

Worker groups file bias complaint against meat giants

Worker advocacy groups have filed a civil rights complaint against meat giants Tyson Foods and JBS with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, alleging that the companies’ failure to prevent novel coronavirus outbreaks among largely black and Latino workers amounted to racial discrimination.

The complaint alleges that the companies’ failure to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance at their processing facilities — social distancing on meat processing lines, the use of personal protective equipment — had a discriminatory impact on the predominantly black, Latino and Asian workforce.

“Meat-processing workers are uniquely vulnerable to the coronavirus and the risk of contracting it because of the oppressive and dangerous working conditions in these facilities,” said Brent Newell, senior attorney at Public Justice, which is representing the complainants. “This is about how those black, Latino and Asian workers are more significantly affected than their white co-workers.”

Read more here.

By Laura Reiley
July 13, 2020 at 10:37 PM EDT

Patriot League won’t play fall sports, but Navy and Army are exempt

The Patriot League announced Monday that its fall sports will not be played this autumn, but Navy and Army are exempt from that decision and will forge ahead with their own plans.

The conference’s council of presidents noted it is exploring playing fall sports during the second semester of the school year. It added that winter and spring sports will be evaluated later, but practice, conditioning and strength training activities in all sports will be permitted if proper health guidelines are followed.

The Patriot League is the latest conference to announce its plans for the upcoming school year as universities around the country make adjustments amid the pandemic. The Ivy League was the first Division I conference to announce it would not hold fall sports as scheduled. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have announced conference-only schedules for all fall sports.

Read more here.

By Kareem Copeland
July 13, 2020 at 10:19 PM EDT

Trump administration to recommend National Guard as option to help hospitals report covid-19 data

The Trump administration is poised to ask governors to consider sending in the National Guard to hospitals to help improve data collection about coronavirus patients, supplies and capacity, according to draft letters, internal emails and hospital industry officials familiar with the plans.

A letter, to be sent to governors imminently, backs away from earlier drafts as recently as Friday that had directed state leaders to deploy the National Guard to help hospitals with daily data submissions. It now includes the National Guard among states’ options for improving the data flow, according to two senior administration officials and one industry official who was informed Monday about the final version.

Still, even the possibility of National Guard involvement has infuriated hospital industry leaders, who say any data collection problems lie primarily with the Department of Health and Human Services and repeatedly changing federal instructions. The idea of bringing in the Guard was first broached at a late June meeting by Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force response coordinator, according to two hospital industry officials who attended and spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

Read more here.

By Lena H. Sun and Amy Goldstein
July 13, 2020 at 9:53 PM EDT

Trump campaign will ‘look at all options’ for GOP convention, spokesman says

Hogan Gidley, national press secretary for Trump’s reelection campaign, on Monday declined to rule out the possibility that next month’s Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Fla., will be held at an outdoor venue.

In an interview with Fox News’s Martha MacCallum, Gidley said that “we want to make sure, if we proceed forward, how it looks and the measures that need to be in place to make sure that, when this thing goes off, it goes off safely.”

MacCallum noted Gidley’s use of the phrase “if we proceed” and asked whether there are some within the Trump campaign who would rather things be handled differently than they have at previous years’ conventions.

Gidley responded that “people are excited because they want to see this convention happen,” adding that “whether it’s a rally or a convention speech, people will do anything and everything to get in and hear this man, and cheer him on and thank him for improving their lives.”

“Listen, we want to proceed, but we want to do it in a proper way,” Gidley said. “The president cares about the safety and security of the American people. ... And so, we will look at all options.”

By Felicia Sonmez
July 13, 2020 at 9:51 PM EDT

Russell Westbrook tests positive as two NBA players violate guidelines

Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook announced Monday that he was one of 19 NBA players to test positive for the novel coronavirus this month, delaying his availability for the league’s restart outside Orlando.

The NBA announced Monday that 19 players tested positive this month before 22 teams traveled to the protected Disney World campus, where games are slated to begin July 30. This new batch of positive tests follows the announcement of 25 positive tests during the first phase of the NBA’s testing program in June.

Only two of the 322 players who have arrived in Florida tested positive during their mandated quarantine period, the league said, and all positive cases are in isolation. The NBA did not identify which players tested positive in Florida but noted they never cleared the quarantine phase of the testing program and thus didn’t come into contact with their teammates, team employees or opponents.

Read more here.

By Ben Golliver
July 13, 2020 at 9:35 PM EDT

Excessive heat is scorching the South and Southwest, where coronavirus cases are surging

An intense and expanding heat wave is baking the South and Southwest, pushing the mercury to record-challenging levels in areas where cases of covid-19 are also spiking. On Monday, heat warnings and advisories were in effect for at least 11 states from southern California to the Florida Panhandle.

These include all of Louisiana, nearly the entire state of Texas, and a portion of Arizona. Each of these states are seeing surges in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, and the heat is complicating the effort to contain the illness by making drive-thru testing centers less feasible, and challenging heat wave response plans that rely in part on indoor cooling centers, where the virus could spread.

The heat wave is serving as a threat multiplier, targeting some of the same people who are most susceptible to covid-19, particularly the elderly, people with preexisting health conditions and those who are living in urban areas and poorer neighborhoods that lack air conditioning.

Read more here.

By Andrew Freedman
July 13, 2020 at 9:19 PM EDT

Coronavirus may be the latest challenge for college health clinics that face no federal regulation

After days of sharp pain shooting up her left abdomen, Rose Wong hobbled from her history class to the student health center at Duke University.

A nurse pressed on the 20-year-old’s belly and told her it felt like gas. Wong questioned the diagnosis but said the nurse dismissed her doubts and sent her to the campus pharmacy to pick up Gas-X that afternoon in February 2019.

The next morning, Wong doubled over in pain, and a roommate drove her to an emergency room in nearby Durham, N.C. In the hospital, doctors discovered her condition was far more serious: Her left kidney had a massive hemorrhage. The bleeding, she later learned, was caused by a cancerous tumor that required surgery and chemotherapy and forced her to miss an entire school year.

Wong said she worries that when she returns to the Duke campus next month, the university and its medical clinic will be incapable of keeping her and 15,500 other Duke students healthy and safe in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone I know says that student health is awful,” Wong said. “It’s an open secret.”

Read more here.

By Jenn Abelson, Nicole Dungca, Meryl Kornfield and Andrew Ba Tran
July 13, 2020 at 9:03 PM EDT

More than 5 million have lost health insurance during the pandemic, study finds

The coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying economic tremors have forced at least 5.4 million people out of health insurance, a new analysis found — a staggering, record-setting increase in the number of Americans uninsured.

The report, published Monday by the health-care advocacy group Families USA, showed that widespread layoffs caused more adults to lose coverage between February and May than ever have in a full year.

Nearly half of those who lost insurance reside in just five states: California, Texas, Florida, New York and North Carolina. And even more troubling: Most of the states that now have the highest share of uninsured adults — including Texas, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas — are also battling surges of new infections and rising rates of hospitalizations.

The historic number of newly uninsured people should prompt Congress to address the issue of health coverage in the next virus relief bill, the study’s author, Stan Dorn, wrote.

“No federal covid-19 legislation signed into law has attempted to restore or preserve comprehensive health insurance, which improves health outcomes, limits financial insecurity, and promotes economic recovery,” Dorn wrote. “Federal lawmakers can fill that gap in the next covid-19 bill.”

The analysis is based on unemployment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Urban Institute research on the number of unemployed workers who become uninsured instead of finding coverage elsewhere. The findings reflect the economic reality of May, the most recent month for which data was available. But there’s little reason, Dorn wrote, to believe the situation has improved since then.

“The national employment situation improved in mid-June, but many observers expect it to worsen in the coming months,” he wrote, “given the extraordinary increase in covid-19 diagnoses that some states are reporting after attempting to re-open their economies.”

By Reis Thebault
July 13, 2020 at 8:49 PM EDT

Trump cites game show host on pandemic while undercutting health officials

Public health experts say President Trump’s efforts to deflect blame for the surging virus have become yet another distraction making it harder to slow the spread of a covid-19, a highly contagious disease now infecting Americans at a record clip.

On Monday, Trump retweeted a message from Chuck Woolery, a longtime game show host and conservative commentator, that accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of “lying” to the American public about the coronavirus.

Trump in recent days has also accused Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, of making “mistakes,” blasted CDC guidelines for opening schools as “impractical” and repeatedly undercut public health officials’ recommendations by questioning the efficacy of masks and social distancing.

Read more here.

By Toluse Olorunnipa
July 13, 2020 at 8:21 PM EDT

A race is on to make enough small glass vials to deliver coronavirus vaccine around the world

As scientists race to test coronavirus vaccines in humans, a parallel scramble is underway to produce billions of medical-grade vials and syringes that will be needed to inoculate the world’s population.

Global production of pharmaceutical vials needs to be ramped up by 5 to 10 percent within two years, a job the industry says requires immediate preparation and increases in production but is not an insurmountable challenge.

Governments and drug companies are placing huge orders worth hundreds of millions of dollars and pushing the makers of vials and syringes to add manufacturing capacity.

“No one wants to see glass be the reason the world can’t get access,” said Brendan Mosher, vice president and general manager of Corning Pharmaceutical Technologies. “Everyone is working together and has a common goal to make sure there are plenty of vials.”

Read more here.

By Christopher Rowland
July 13, 2020 at 7:50 PM EDT

Challenges are mounting against the ICE rule on student visas during the pandemic

Eighteen attorneys general sued the Trump administration Monday, joining a growing number of efforts to challenge an order that would require international students to take classes in person this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Google, Facebook, Twitter and more than a dozen other tech companies and associations, as well as more than 70 higher education associations and scores of universities, supported a lawsuit by Harvard and MIT seeking to block the rule. That case argues that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s decision was part of an apparent political strategy to force colleges to fully reopen despite the rising number of coronavirus cases.

Read more here.

By Susan Svrluga
July 13, 2020 at 7:34 PM EDT

‘You are doing nothing!’ Heckler interrupts Florida governor as state grapples with increase in cases.

On the heels of Florida’s single-day infection record Saturday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday acknowledged that more people were testing positive for the virus than in the past but urged calm.

“I know many Floridians are filled with apprehensions,” he told reporters Monday. He pledged that he was working nonstop on the crisis and urged citizens not to “get swept away in fear,” saying there is a long road ahead.

As he began his speech, however, DeSantis was interrupted by a protester who accused him and other officials of misleading the public, asserting, “We have record-breaking cases every day, and you are doing nothing!”

The individual was escorted out of the briefing room, and DeSantis did not acknowledge the interruption.

Addressing the record-setting weekend numbers, DeSantis conceded that more people were testing positive (15 percent last week compared with 5 percent in months prior), but also argued that the state was testing hundreds of thousands of people per day, compared with just hundreds in March. He likened it to a “testing industrial complex.”

DeSantis also cited a declining fatality rate from the virus, improved treatment options and the availability of hospital beds in most areas of the state as reasons to remain positive.

He said long delays in test results and shortages of medical personnel in South Florida hospitals were his greatest areas of concern.

“There’s a need for faster results,” he said, noting that commercial labs are backed up and it sometimes has taken people seven days to get results. He vowed to add specific lanes at testing sites for people who are “symptomatic,” allowing for expedited test results.

Speaking after DeSantis, Carlos Giménez, the mayor of Miami-Dade County, said his county was going through a “rough time.” He said he had instituted a curfew and other measures to drive down coronavirus infections. The county has a 25 percent positivity rate.

“We do not want to overload the hospital capacity of Miami-Dade County,” he said. “The message I want to give the community is: We have to follow the rules. If we all do what we’re supposed to do, we can drive the level of contagion down in Miami-Dade County.”

By Michael Brice-Saddler
July 13, 2020 at 7:20 PM EDT

Democrats blast DeVos for insisting schools fully reopen

Facing widespread pushback, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos doubled down Sunday on her call to fully reopen schools and have children return to “learning full-time” in person by the fall — an effort that has also been championed by President Trump.

But while DeVos stressed the importance of getting students back in classrooms, she repeatedly dodged questions during Sunday morning interviews on CNN and Fox News about how that could be done safely amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, prompting fierce criticism from congressional Democrats.

“[Betsy DeVos,] you have no plan,” tweeted Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) on Sunday afternoon. “I wouldn’t trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child.”

Read more here.

By Allyson Chiu