Cases rise in 40 states; Jersey Shore open, but LA beaches closed; Texas mask mandate begins


Heading into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the U.S. recorded 52,291 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, surpassing Wednesday’s record of 50,655, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. 

It’s the largest single-day total in the U.S. since the pandemic began six months ago. 

For the holiday weekend, many in New Jersey are flocking to the Jersey Shore. Boardwalks, outdoor dining, fireworks displays, water parks, amusement rides and casinos will also be open at some capacity this weekend.

That won’t be the case across some areas of Southern California, where Los Angeles and Ventura counties have closed beaches, and in Florida, where several counties including Broward and Palm Beach have done the same.

Starting noon Friday, face masks will be required in public in Texas counties with at least 20 confirmed coronavirus cases. On Thursday, Florida set a new record, adding 10,109 new cases.

Here are some recent developments:

  • The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, a surge that has more than offset massive and persistent layoffs. The unemployment rate fell to 11.1% from 13.3% in May, the Labor Department said Thursday. 

  • There is increasing evidence that a specific mutation allows the virus to be more contagious, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday. He said there is no connection to patient outcomes yet and acknowledged virologists are still working to understand the mutation. “It just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible,” he said.

  • The city of Dallas will distribute $500,000 in funding to help immigrant families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Apple has temporarily reclosed 77 stores throughout the country as cases spike.

  • Florida added 10,109 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, a new record. It marks the ninth consecutive day that at least 5,000 new cases have been counted, according to data from the Florida Department of Health. The total number of COVID-19 cases statewide is now 169,106.

  • Herman Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, who attended President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was taken to the hospital Wednesday after contracting COVID-19. The 74-year-old tested positive on Monday. 

📈Today’s stats: Since the pandemic began six months ago, the U.S. has seen more than 2.7 million cases and more than 128,000 deaths. Globally, there have been more than 10.8 million cases and over 521,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.

📰 What we’re reading: While the CDC says face shields should not be worn to replace a cloth mask, more and more people are turning to them for additional protection. Here’s where you can buy them.

Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. For first-in-the-morning updates, sign up for The Daily Briefing.

Cases are rising in 40 states over last 2 weeks 

Four U.S. states — Arizona, California, Florida and Texas — reported a combined 25,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday as the infection curve rose in 40 of the 50 states heading into the July Fourth holiday weekend.

With the number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide climbing past 50,000, an alarming 36 states saw an increase in the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus.

“What we’ve seen is a very disturbing week,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said in a livestream with the American Medical Association.

All but 10 states are showing an upswing in newly reported cases over the past 14 days, according to data compiled by the volunteer COVID Tracking Project. The outbreaks are most severe in Arizona, Texas and Florida, which together with California have reclosed or otherwise clamped back down on bars, restaurants and movie theaters over the past week or so.

Nebraska and South Dakota were the only states outside the Northeast with a downward trend in cases.

– Associated Press

Texas GOP to go ahead with state convention in virus hotspot Houston

Over opposition from doctors and some local party activists, the Texas GOP is moving ahead with a three-day convention starting July 16 in Houston, one of the nation’s coronavirus hotspots,

Party leaders voted Thursday night to stick with an in-person gathering that is typically one of the largest political conventions in America, drawing thousands of attendees. Some supporters suggested that changing plans is not what President Donald Trump would want.

The vote came hours after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask order as COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas set another high Thursday. Hospitals in Houston have warned they are becoming stretched and the Texas Medical Association has called for cancelling the convention, saying now was not the time to pack thousands of people indoors. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, has left the decisions about the convention up to the GOP. 

India nears third worst-hit country after another record high of daily cases

India reported another single-day record high of new coronavirus cases Friday while its monuments, including the Taj Mahal, are set to reopen for tourists next week.

The 20,903 new cases took the national total to 625,544. The Health Ministry also reported another 379 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing fatalities to 18,213.

With the current rate of infections, India is expected to surpass Russia’s 660,000 cases in the coming days and become the third worst-hit country after the United States and Brazil. It has the eighth-most fatalities in the world, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

After a strict two-month lockdown, India has eased restrictions across most of the country — except for the highest-risk areas. The Culture Ministry decided to reopen all monuments Monday with a cap on the number of visitors and mandatory masks.

Dallas plans to distribute $500K to immigrant families affected by COVID-19

As coronavirus cases spike in Texas, the city of Dallas will distribute $500,000 in funding to nonprofit organizations that support immigrant families. The city’s Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs teamed up with the Open Society Foundations to establish a fund.

Officials will work with local non-profits who help immigrants communities to distribute the funds. Families who are ineligible for federal COVID-19 relief programs will be prioritized.

“Immigrants have played a key role in driving Dallas’ economic growth. And they haven’t stopped working throughout the COVID crisis,” Open Society Foundations President Patrick Gaspard said in a news release. “They are this city’s essential workers.”

The non-profits will also collect non-identifying information to “inform future emergency response for Dallas’ immigrant residents,” according to the release. City officials say they hope this program attracts additional funding from private individuals and foundations.

New York county issued subpoenas to partygoers for coronavirus contact tracing

Health officials in one New York County issued subpoenas to eight people after they refused to cooperate in the contact tracing of the coronavirus cluster tied to a party.

It worked: All eight partygoers responded to the subpoenas, avoiding possible fines of $2,000 per day from Rockland County, the first known county in the state to resort to legal action amid this public health emergency.

The party in mid-June was hosted by someone who was sick with coronavirus at the time, Rockland County Executive Ed Day told USA TODAY on Thursday. The host was symptomatic but held the party anyway, which included 50 to 100 young adults, Day said.

Autumn Schoolman

Oregon trooper on leave after flouting state’s mask mandate at coffee shop

An Oregon State Police trooper is on leave and the state police superintendent has publicly apologized after the uniformed officer allegedly refused to wear a face mask inside a coffee shop Wednesday morning. 

After a video of four troopers not wearing masks was made public Thursday and employees alleged one trooper said the mask mandate violated his “civil liberties,” OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton called the troopers’ behavior “embarrassing and indefensible.”

Officials said Thursday the trooper who refused to wear a mask has been placed on leave and the incident is under investigation. None of the troopers have been identified by the OSP.

Whitney Woodworth, Salem (Ore.) Statesman Journal

More Apple stores now closed as COVID-19 cases rise across US

With more spikes in the cases of coronavirus, Apple has now reclosed approximately 28% of its U.S. stores.

As of Thursday, 77 stores that had reopened are now temporarily closed again, Apple confirmed to USA TODAY. Others stores throughout the country are only open for pickup of online orders and by appointment for “in-store Genius Support.”

Last week, Apple closed 32 stores in five states but as of Thursday, added 45 more closings in 11 states. The new temporary closures include 15 in California, another 10 in Texas, five of Georgia’s six locations, four of Nevada’s five stores and two more in Florida.

Some of the new closures are open for appointments through either Thursday or Friday, according to individual store pages. Apple has 271 stores in the United States. 

Kelly Tyko

Woman spits on 7-Eleven counter in Texas after being asked to wear mask

A woman was recorded spitting on a 7-Eleven counter on Monday after the cashier refused to ring up her purchase because she was not wearing a mask. The unidentified woman spit on the counter after yelling at the cashier that she has “a right” to not wear a face mask.

“I’m spreading more germs standing here,” she is heard saying.

The recording shows the woman at a Fort Worth, Texas 7-Eleven saying, “We have a right in America not to wear a (expletive) mask.” The cashier can be heard telling the woman, “I’m just telling you to get a mask on.”

CBS Dallas reports an employee said there was a sign on the store door stating that customers must wear a mask. 

“It’s disheartening to see a 7-Eleven team member be treated with the disrespect shown in this video. 7-Eleven, Inc. complies with all federal, state and local laws, which includes local mandates that require face coverings in public,” 7-Eleven said in a statement to USA TODAY. “We respectfully ask that customers do the same.”

Josh Rivera

What we’re reading

Florida surpasses daily record, posts more than 10,000 new cases

Florida added 10,109 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, a new record. It marks the ninth consecutive day that at least 5,000 new cases have been counted, according to data from the Florida Department of Health. The total number of COVID-19 cases statewide is now 169,106.

The state’s total number of cases has nearly tripled since the Phase 2 reopening began on June 5. Bars were closed for the second time during the pandemic June 26.

The number of reported deaths of Florida residents rose to 3,617, including the first death of someone between the ages of 5 and 14. The death toll increased by 67 since Wednesday. 

– Cheryl McCloud, Treasure Coast Newspapers

More on the coronavirus from USA TODAY

Coronavirus Watch: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. And come together and share the latest information about coronavirus, coping with lifestyle changes and more by joining our Facebook group.

Where are states on reopening? Some are taking preemptive measures to postpone further phases of their reopening, while others have rolled back their phases to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. See the list.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID cases in US surpass 52,000; Jersey Shore open; Texas face masks



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