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The United States recorded more than 1,000 deaths Tuesday, for the first time since June 2 when 1,052 fatalities were reported. The average number of daily deaths has been rising for most of July, according to data compiled and analyzed by The Washington Post, and Tuesday’s milestone undercuts President Trump’s claim of a fast-falling mortality rate.

Trump on Tuesday struck a more pessimistic tone than usual about the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, while maintaining that progress is being made toward a vaccine and therapeutics.

“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,” he told reporters at a coronavirus briefing held at the White House. “Something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.”

Here are some significant developments:

3:28 a.m.
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Montgomery County, Md., public schools cancel fall, winter sports

Montgomery County Public Schools, the largest school district in Maryland, announced Tuesday the cancellation of fall and winter sports for the coming academic year as it moves to at-home learning for the entirety of the first semester.

As school districts across the Washington area weigh options for holding high school athletics amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Montgomery County is the first to definitively cancel both fall and winter sports. Superintendent Jack R. Smith announced in a statement that all learning will take place virtually until Jan. 29 — or until local health officials determine it is safe to return.

“This decision includes the cancellation of fall and winter sports,” Smith said in the statement.

Read more here.

2:55 a.m.
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Thousands of Americans are still waiting for their tax refunds after coronavirus extension

American taxpayers got an extra three months from the Internal Revenue Service to pay their taxes this year. But this act of bureaucratic largesse didn’t benefit many people who filed their returns long before the usual April 15 deadline. They are still awaiting refunds.

For the most part, the IRS stopped processing paper returns around March 30 because of the novel coronavirus. Some work was curtailed even earlier.

“Yes, some paper returns filed early in the season have not yet been processed,” said IRS spokesman Eric Smith. “We have been hearing this from a number of folks and very much understand that people are concerned. We are continuing to whittle away at our paper inventory.”

Read more here.

2:25 a.m.
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Pompeo praises Britain for hard line against ‘disgraceful’ China

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 21 that he wanted every nation to "push back against the Chinese Communist Party." (The Washington Post)

LONDON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo showered Britain with praise Tuesday for taking a harder line on a “disgraceful” China, a notably warmer tone toward his hosts than he struck during a visit in January.

“I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate the British government for its principled responses to these challenges,” Pompeo told reporters. Britain announced Monday it would end an extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extend an arms embargo to the territory, and last week reversed its position toward the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Britain, like the United States, has been one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic that began in China. It finds itself increasingly at odds with Beijing on several fronts, including not only Huawei and the new national security law that tightens Beijing’s grip on Hong Kong but also growing public outrage about human rights.

Read more here.

1:58 a.m.
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Welcome back, sports. It seems we’re really going to do this.

We’re really going to bring back sports in the middle of a global pandemic? We’re really going to send our best athletes back onto their fields and courts, in empty arenas and stadiums, despite their own trepidation, sometimes spoken, mostly not?

Yes, it appears we are.

This, finally, is the week big-time team sports, such as they are, return to American life. Major League Baseball launches a truncated, 60-game regular season Thursday, followed by the WNBA two days later and the resumptions of the NBA on July 30 and the NHL on Aug. 1. And that’s on top of the professional soccer leagues, National Women’s Soccer League and MLS, which have been playing games for weeks now. Coming this fall — maybe, possibly, we think: football.

1:35 a.m.
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Men’s Wearhouse owner plans to close 500 stores, shed staff

Tailored Brands, the parent company of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, is closing as many as 500 men’s clothing stores and cutting about 20 percent of its corporate workforce as it tries to cut costs during the pandemic.

The Fremont, Calif.-based retailer said Tuesday it is still reeling from temporary store closures and a pullback in consumer spending. Due to the pandemic’s “significant impact on our business, further actions are needed to help us strengthen our financial position so we can navigate our current realities,” chief executive Dinesh Lathi said in a statement.

The company has appointed a “chief restructuring officer” and said it expects to spend about $6 million on severance and related costs.

Tailored Brands has 1,450 stores under four brands, including Moores Clothing for Men and K&G. It specialize in men’s suits and workwear and has struggled to attract customers at a time when many office workers are working from home and have no need for dress shirts and loafers.

The announcement follows bankruptcy filings by apparel chains such as J. Crew, J.C. Penney and Brooks Brothers. Retailers are expected to permanently close as many as 25,000 stores this year, according to Coresight Research.

1:12 a.m.
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Researchers design reusable face mask said to be as effective as N95 respirator

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have designed a mask they say is as effective as the N95 respirator — a high-grade mask that has proven crucial for health-care workers tasked with treating patients who have infectious diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that typical N95 masks be worn no more than five times in hospital settings. But the researchers announced earlier this month that the newly designed mask could be “easily sterilized and used many times,” according to a news release.

“One of the key things we recognized early on was that in order to help meet the demand, we needed to really restrict ourselves to methods that could scale,” said Giovanni Traverso, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT and a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “We also wanted to maximize the reusability of the system, and we wanted systems that could be sterilized in many different ways.”

The new mask, made of silicone rubber, is easily replicable in a factory setting and uses less N95 material than a typical face covering, according to the release. The mask contains space for up to two N95 filters designed to be replaced after each use. The mask itself can be sterilized as many times as needed.

The research could potentially prove especially beneficial to hospital workers, who in recent weeks have reported shortages of personal protective equipment, sometimes using N95 masks for weeks at a time.

12:20 a.m.
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White House, GOP in disarray over coronavirus spending plan as deadline nears

A major intraparty rift widened between the White House and Senate Republicans on Tuesday as they stumbled to formulate a unified coronavirus budget plan, lacking agreement on policy goals, spending parameters and even deadlines.

The Republican and White House position changed multiple times as the day went on, with some GOP lawmakers refusing to rally behind President Trump’s demand for a payroll tax cut while others worked to convince White House emissaries that more money was needed for testing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Complicating matters, other Republican lawmakers appeared mortified about the growing size of the spending bill, leading to bickering over which policies to remove and warning that miscalculations could allow Democrats to seize control of the White House and Senate in November.

Read more here.

11:34 p.m.
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Even where Trump is popular, some school leaders reject his push to reopen

President Trump this month launched an aggressive campaign to return children to school full time, threatening to withhold federal funding from schools that do not comply — which he does not have the power to do — and lashing out against his own public health agency’s school guidelines. Reopening schools is seen as a linchpin to restarting the economy, making it a crucial part of his reelection bid.

But he’s encountering pushback even in places like Greenville County, where Trump won by 25 points in 2016, by school officials who worry that reopening schools could accelerate the spread of the virus. In interviews, some expressed frustration that the president was pushing schools to reopen but offering little in the way of help, financial or otherwise. Congress allocated $13.5 billion in pandemic relief to K-12 schools, compared with the $100 billion they got in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

11:08 p.m.
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Analysis: 5 takeaways from Trump’s return to the coronavirus briefing stage

President Trump encouraged wearing a mask at a coronavirus briefing on July 21 in a marked shift in tone from his previous statements. (The Washington Post)

President Trump has brought back the White House coronavirus briefing as the disease continues to run rampant in much of the nation.

The decision to bring back the briefings carries political risks for Trump, given the last iteration of briefings ended about two months ago, after he mused about injecting disinfectant to cure patients.

We didn’t see that version of Trump at Tuesday’s briefing, but there was plenty of evidence that these briefings are geared toward shoring up Americans’ widespread disapproval of his handling of the pandemic.

10:37 p.m.
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Trump acknowledges that pandemic in U.S. will probably ‘get worse before it gets better’

In his first coronavirus press briefing in nearly three months, President Trump struck a more pessimistic tone, acknowledging that the pandemic could still get worse.

“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,” Trump said in prepared remarks. “Something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.”

In a reversal of past comments, Trump advocated for Americans to wear masks. Trump, who for many weeks refused to encourage Americans to wear masks, now called it patriotic to wear a face covering.

“If you’re close together, I would put on the mask,” Trump said. “… I’m getting used to the mask. And the reason is I think about patriotism — maybe it is. It helps. It helps.”

The president also said he would work with China if its scientists develop a vaccine first.

“We’re willing to work with anybody who is going to get us a good result,” he said, while continuing to blame China for the outbreak.

Trump had long said the virus would one day just disappear. When asked whether he would take responsibility if things got worse, Trump said the blame is shared with the governors.

“I think we’re all responsible,” Trump said. “I view it as a team — very good relationships with the governors, very, very good relationships. I could say I’m fully responsible, but, you know, one day we had a virus come in and I closed the borders, did a lot of things that were very good.”

10:03 p.m.
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U.S. records more than 1,000 daily deaths, first time in nearly 50 days

The United States recorded more than 1,000 deaths Tuesday, the first time the country has topped that mark in nearly 50 days. It’s the highest single-day death total since June 2, when 1,052 fatalities were reported, and the milestone undercuts Trump’s claims of a fast-falling coronavirus mortality rate.

Tuesday’s death toll was lower than in the pandemic’s darkest days in April, when the virus regularly claimed upward of 2,000 lives in 24 hours. But the average number of daily deaths has been rising for most of July, according to data compiled and analyzed by The Washington Post.

It has become a closely watched — and politically charged — statistic after states that rushed to reopen saw surges in infections and hospitalizations. Some, including Trump, have argued that a lower death rate means the health-care system has gotten better at battling the virus. But experts have cautioned that deaths lag newly reported cases by weeks and have warned that a similar spike in fatalities could still lie ahead.

On Tuesday, states that reopened quickly — Florida, Arizona and Texas — led the nation in reported deaths, each posting more than 130. Georgia, where the governor has taken an unorthodox approach to the pandemic response, reported 78. In California, where state leaders have been comparably cautious, 61 people died.

9:26 p.m.
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CDC changes some recommendations for isolating when testing positive

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s self-isolation rules have been a facet of pandemic life in the nation since March.

Those who test positive for the coronavirus but do not have symptoms have counted down the minutes until they could be free to venture out, while the sick have worried about how long they could be a danger to their loved ones.

Now the CDC, acknowledging expanded understanding about the infectiousness of the novel coronavirus, has changed some of its recommendations.

9:25 p.m.
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Texas to delay high school football for big schools amid coronavirus pandemic

The University Interscholastic League, which administers high school sports in the state of Texas, announced Tuesday that the high school football seasons for schools with large enrollments will be delayed by one month while smaller schools will be allowed to start their football seasons at their usual time.

The delays for the state’s larger schools specifically will affect volleyball along with football. Teams in those sports at large schools now will be allowed to begin practice Sept. 7 instead of Aug. 3, as initially planned. The first football games at those schools cannot begin until Sept. 24, and the season now will run into the new year instead of ending just before Christmas.

Texas, which began the first phase of its reopening amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on May 1, well before most other states, has seen a sizable increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, straining health care systems in the state’s urban centers.

8:36 p.m.
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People are turning to celebrities and social media for medical advice

More than four months into the pandemic, Americans are swimming — and sometimes drowning — in an ocean of information that, paradoxically, is also a desert of clarity and consensus. In the absence of consistent, authoritative advice from federal health officials, and with President Trump and some of his top aides casting doubt on their own administration’s scientific guidance, many people have decided they are on their own, left to figure out for themselves how to live safely.

Amid the confusing cacophony, many now rely on recommendations by fellow parents, scientists, media commentators, local public health officials, celebrities, social media influencers, self-appointed experts, political activists or, in Chuck Woolery’s case, a TV entertainer.