CDC is 'highly concerned' about coronavirus in the fall

Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) —  A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 486,000 people worldwide.

Over 9.5 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 2.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 122,796 deaths.

Here’s how the news developed Thursday. All times Eastern:

8 p.m.: Masks now required in Miami as COVID-19 cases rise

Facial coverings are now required in Miami, and not wearing one is subject to a civil infraction, the city announced Thursday.

Everyone, with few exceptions, is required to wear a face covering when in public, effectively immediately and until further notice, according to a new emergency order. First-time offenders will be issued a verbal warning and given a free mask. A second offense would result in a $50 fine, while a third offense would result in a promise to appear in court. The Miami Police Department and Department of Code Enforcement will enforce the new order, the city said.

Exceptions to the new mandate include children under the age of 2, someone exercising outdoors while social distancing, those with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent wearing a mask, hearing-impaired individuals communicating with other hearing-impaired individuals, and people eating or drinking.

The order comes as COVID-19 cases in the region are on the rise. Miami-Dade County saw a peak number of new cases in Florida residents on June 23, with 945, according to state health department data.

Last week, Mayor Francis Suarez announced Miami won’t move into the next phase of reopening because of concerns over rising COVID-19 cases.

6:30 p.m.: Delaware delays phased reopening

Delaware will no longer be moving into the next phase of its reopening on Monday.

“Too many Delawareans and visitors are not following basic public health precautions,” Gov. John Carney said in a statement Thursday. “We’ve heard and seen concerns especially in our beach communities, in restaurants, in gyms, and at sporting events. Now’s not the time to let up.”

Delaware has 10,980 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the state health department. The average percentage of tests that were positive has steadily increased in June, to 4.3% as of June 24.

The governor said his office expects to make a decision early next week on when the third phase will start. A COVID-19 testing event held Thursday in Rehoboth Beach to help determine infection rates in the state’s coastal communities will be among the factors used to make that decision, he said.

Carney reminded residents that they are required to wear a mask in public and need to distance themselves from people not in their household.

“These are common sense steps that, frankly, are not that difficult to follow,” he said. “And they’re a small price to pay for keeping our friends and relatives out of the hospital.”

Delaware has been in its second phase of reopening since June 15, when child care could reopen with restrictions and retail, restaurants and other businesses could expand capacity.

In phase 3, vulnerable people will no longer have to shelter in place, among other loosened restrictions.

5:56 p.m.: Texas sets another daily record

As Texas puts a pause on reopening phases, the state announced a new daily record for cases on Thursday afternoon.

There were 5,996 daily new COVID cases — a 73% increase in positive cases since last Thursday, June 18. It was also a new record for the third straight day.

The positivity rate also continued to increase, climbing to 11.76% after a low of 4.27% on May 26.

The state also reported 47 deaths, its highest number since May 20. Eleven of those were in hard-hit Harris County, which includes Houston.

4:15 p.m.: California invites citizens to help build COVID-19 models

In California, the hospitalization rate has jumped by 32% and intensive care unit admissions have increased by 19% in the last two weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

Thirty-four percent of the state’s ICU beds are now filled, Newsom said at a news conference.

As the numbers soar, Newsom announced that California is working toward better, more accurate models, and he’s inviting citizen scientists to participate.

Through an open source platform, citizens can access the state’s data — the same information given to county health departments — so they can build models themselves.

3:45 p.m.: People hit the beach, ignore social distancing in UK

A heat wave is hitting the United Kingdom, and beachgoers are hitting the sand and ignoring social distancing rules.

The town of Bournemouth has declared a “major incident” as its beaches were overwhelmed.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that the government has the power to close the beaches if necessary.

This comes as the World Health Organization announced a “very significant” resurgence of cases in Europe.

3:20 p.m.: County leaders in Florida get threatening emails

In Hillsborough County, Florida, which includes the city of Tampa, leaders of the Emergency Policy Group say they’ve been receiving threatening emails in response to COVID-19.

One of the Emergency Policy Group members said she broke down crying after reading one of the emails, and said, “the viciousness is uncalled for.”

While they did not discuss the content of the threatening emails, an ordinance requiring face masks in Hillsborough County businesses was approved this week.

2:30 p.m.: CDC is ‘highly concerned’ about the fall

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said during a teleconference Thursday that he’s “highly concerned about the situation we will have in the fall, when we have the flu and coronavirus at the same time.”

Redfield stressed that the U.S. remains in the first wave of the virus.

“For every case that is diagnosed, there may be 10 people infected. Probably 10 times greater than positive tests, based on antibody testing,” Redfield said.

While some states, like New York, are improving, others, like Texas, are heading in the wrong direction. Redfield said he is especially concerned about Houston.

11:48 a.m.: Texas puts temporary pause on more reopening phases

Texas is pausing any further phases of reopening as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase in the state, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday.

Businesses that opened under the previous phases can continue to stay open at the designated occupancy levels, he said.

“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses,” Abbott said in a statement. “This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”

“I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others,” he said. “The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business.”

In Tarrant County, face masks will now be required at businesses. The order goes into effect 6 p.m. Friday.

Texas is also suspending elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties as cases increase, Abbott said.

“These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients,” Abbott said in a statement.

11:20 a.m.: Florida sees 5,004 new cases in 1 day

Florida now has 114,018 total COVID-19 cases — an increase of 5,004 in one day, according to the state’s Department of Health dashboard.

On Wednesday, Florida set a one-day record of 5,511 new cases, representing a 15.91% positivity rate out of 36,300 tests conducted Tuesday — the highest percentage positive in the last calendar month.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday blamed rapid transmission in the 18 to 35 age group for the new rise in daily cases.

“Granted, they’re weren’t being tested at this level a couple months ago,” he said. “But I also think they are testing positive at a higher and higher rate. So clearly you have community spread there.”

10:45 a.m.: Texas bans elective surgeries in some counties

Texas is suspending elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase in the state, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday.

“These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients,” Abbott said in a statement.

Harris County, which includes Houston, has the state’s highest number of cases with over 24,000.

10:28 a.m.: NYC expected to begin 3rd phase of reopening on July 6

New York City is headed in the right direction and is on track to reach phase three of reopening on Monday, July 6, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

That includes resuming the use of city parks’ dog runs, basketball courts, tennis courts and volleyball courts, he said.

Just 2% of New York City residents getting coronavirus tests on Tuesday were found to be positive, de Blasio said.

9:26 a.m.: Another 1.5 million US workers file for unemployment insurance

Nearly 1.5 million workers in the United States filed jobless claims last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

While new weekly unemployment filings have been slowly decreasing since reaching a peak in late March, they have remained at historically high levels for over three months.

New jobless claims have topped one million for 14 straight weeks. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the record for weekly unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982.

Although many have begun returning to work in recent weeks, some 19.5 million U.S. workers are still receiving unemployment insurance.

9:13 a.m.: 114-year-old man recovers from COVID-19

A 114-year-old man in Ethiopia has reportedly recovered from a bout with the novel coronavirus.

The man has “fully recovered” after being treated for COVID-19 at Eka Kotebe General Hospital in the capital Addis Ababa, according to Dr. Yared Agidew, who runs the hospital.

“He is now in good health,” Agidew said in a post on Facebook.

8:27 a.m.: Eiffel Tower reopens after coronavirus shutdown

The Eiffel Tower, one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, reopened to the public on Thursday morning, ending its longest closure since World War II.

With France’s lockdown now over, the grand reopening of the iconic landmark in Paris is being celebrated as another sign of progress in the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus. The Eiffel Tower usually receives some seven million visitors per year, mostly from abroad.

However, visitors must now adhere to new safety measures that have been put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The structure’s elevators remain closed, so visitors will have to take the stairs to the top — all 674 of them. There are also more than 1,300 markers to enforce social distancing, and high-touch areas are cleaned every two hours. All visitors under the age of 11 must wear face masks.

7:11 a.m.: ‘We are much more likely to take this seriously,’ Connecticut governor says

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said he hopes other states will start to take the coronavirus pandemic more seriously amid a surge in hospitalizations and new cases.

“Probably in Connecticut, everybody knows somebody not just that lost a job but they also know somebody that lost their life,” Lamont told ABC News in an interview Thursday on Good Morning America.

“Maybe that’s not true in some of these other states,” he added, “so we are much more likely to take this seriously around here and hope that message translates now around the rest of the country.”

Lamont along with the governors of New Jersey and New York signed orders on Wednesday night imposing a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers from Florida, Texas and other states with spiking coronavirus infection rates.

“Back when the New York metro area, including Connecticut, had a high infection rate, there were some quarantines in our visitors down to places like Florida and, today, they have a much higher — ten times higher — infection rate than we do here,” Lamont said.

The tri-state area was the hardest hit in the country by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, an ABC News analysis shows that all of New York’s key coronavirus figures appear to be flat or declining, with the state seeing its lowest levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations on Wednesday. In New Jersey and Connecticut, there has been a decrease in the daily rate of positivity, hospitalizations and deaths.

Connecticut, which now has one of the lowest coronavirus reproduction rates in the nation, has made major progress in its reopening plan. The governor said 95% of the state’s economy is open.
 
“I think people are more or less following the protocols pretty strictly,” Lamont said. “But we know that we’re not an island and our region is not an island, and that’s why we’re doing what we can to protect ourselves from incoming viruses from highly infected areas.”

Lamont said he’s concerned about backsliding.

“I look around the rest of the country, I think a lot of it’s related to those bars being open, people not wearing the masks. I think that’s what’s being the big driver,” he said. “So far, we’re doing pretty well here. But let’s face it, we’ve got some cabin fever, it’s getting warmer out there. I’m worried.”

6:08 a.m.: FEMA memo details coronavirus crisis in hospitals

ABC News has obtained an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that details the crisis hospitals are facing in U.S. states were COVID-19 diagnoses are spiking.

For instance, Arizona was experiencing a 29% increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations as of Wednesday morning. The state’s hospital capacity stood at 83% full, with 85% of intensive care unit beds full, according to the memo.

California had a record 3,792 coronavirus-related hospitalizations as of Tuesday night, with 1,199 in intensive care, the memo said.

Hospitals throughout Mississippi reported limited to zero ICU capacity as of Tuesday night, and further stress on the state’s health care systems is predicted, according to the memo.

5:20 a.m.: 18 members of Texas family test positive after birthday party

More than a dozen members of a Texas family have tested positive for the novel coronavirus following a birthday party, according to a report by Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.

Ron Barbosa, who lives in the Dallas area, told WFAA that his nephew was unknowingly infected with COVID-19 when he hosted a surprise birthday party for Barbosa’s daughter-in-law on May 30. A total of 25 people attended the celebration, though not everyone arrived all at once nor stayed for the same duration. Barbosa said he and his wife, who is a doctor, didn’t go due to safety concerns.

The virus has since spread throughout the family, and Barbosa said he has counted 18 relatives who have now tested positive for COVID-19.

“When people started getting sick, we really let everyone have it,” Barbosa told WFAA. “We knew this was going to happen. I mean, this whole time this has been going on, we’ve been terrified.”

Among those infected are two young children, two grandparents, a cancer patient and Barbosa’s elderly parents. Barbosa’s parents, who are in their 80s, and his sister, who is battling breast cancer, are currently hospitalized.

Barbosa’s father is in intensive care and on life support.

“My dad’s hanging on by a thread,” he told WFAA, holding back tears. “They’re saying this is one of the last straws for my dad.”

4:27 a.m.: Sacramento Kings players test positive for COVID-19

Two professional basketball players on the Sacramento Kings revealed Wednesday that they have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Kings forward Jabari Parker, 25, said he had received the positive results “several days ago” and “immediately” isolated himself in Chicago.

“I am progressing in my recovery and feeling well,” Parker said in a statement released by the team. “I look forward to joining my teammates in Orlando as we return to the court for the resumption of the NBA season.”

Kings center Alex Len, 27, said he was tested Tuesday in Sacramento.

“I want to thank the Sacramento Kings for their great care and the NBA for putting the protocols in place to allow me to catch this early,” Len said in a statement posted on Instagram. “I have immediately entered isolation and look forward to being cleared and rejoining my teammates for our playoff push.”

3:11 a.m.: US reports more than 34,000 new cases

More than 34,000 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Wednesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest daily caseload is just under the country’s record high of more than 36,000 new cases identified on April 24.

The national total now stands at 2,381,361 diagnosed cases with at least 121,979 deaths.

The new cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories.

While previous hotspots in the Northeast like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have made major progress in recovering from their outbreaks, states in the South and West including Arizona, California, Florida and Texas are experiencing an alarming surge in new infections.

By May 20, all states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up to over 30,000.

Nearly half of all 50 states have seen a rise in infections over the past two weeks, with some — such as Texas and Florida — reporting daily records.

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