- Dr. Anthony Fauci warns of a huge increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics said the benefits of being in school outweigh the risks of COVID-19.
- There will be no social distancing at the Mount Rushmore fireworks display, South Dakota’s governor said.
- U.S. residents were left off the European Union’s list of approved travelers.
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Tuesday that as many as 100,000 people a day could be diagnosed with COVID-19 if the U.S. doesn’t turn things around quickly.
“Clearly, we are not in total control right now,” Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said during Senate testimony on the reopening of the economy.
Asked to forecast the outcome of recent surges in some states, Fauci told the members of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, “I can’t make an accurate prediction, but it is going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that, because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country even though in other parts of the country they’re doing well, they are vulnerable. I made that point very clearly last week at a press conference. We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk.
“We are now having 40,000+ new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I’m very concerned.”
He cited states ignoring guidelines on reopening as well as people not wearing masks and gathering in large crowds, particularly in bars, as among reasons why the virus is spreading so quickly.
“I think it is important to tell and you the American public that I’m very concerned because it could get very bad,” Fauci told senators.
He said he is especially concerned about spikes in Florida, Texas, California and Arizona, which are accounting for about 50% of new infections nationwide. At least 36 states are currently seeing an increase in cases compared to the previous week.
More than 2.6 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 130,000 people have died because of the new coronavirus. Worldwide, more than 509,700 people have died, and there have been 10.4 million infections.
-Also at the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing, Fauci, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir agreed that masks are key to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. “We have powerful tools at our disposal: social distancing, wear a face cover in public and be diligent about frequent hand washing. It’s imperative that we take the personal responsibility to slow the transmission of Covid-19 and embrace the universal use of face coverings,” Redfield said.
-As the nation’s school districts grapple with how to educate students during the coronavirus pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics said discussions about the coming school year should start with the goal of having students physically present in school. “Schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being,” the academy said in a guidance statement for educators, adding that physical distancing guidelines and limits on the number of students in a room should be weighed against the potential downside if remote learning is the only alternative. Other risk mitigation strategies, such as face coverings, staggered pickup and drop-off times, and keeping adult-to-adult interactions to a minimum should be implemented, the academy recommended.
-South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told Fox News masks will be given out but they are optional and there “won’t be social distancing” at the Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore on Friday, the Hill reported. President Donald Trump has said he will attend the event. “We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one,” Noem said. “But we won’t be social distancing. We’re asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country and to talk about our history and what it brought us today with an opportunity to raise our kids in the greatest country in the world.”
-More states are requiring people to wear face coverings in public. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced masks will be required in indoor public spaces beginning Wednesday. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has ordered every Kansan to wear a mask if they are around other people. The order takes effect Friday.
-Jacksonville, Florida, said masks will be required in any indoor public place where social distancing is not possible. The city is scheduled to host the Republican National Convention in August.
-Major League Baseball has banned spitting when its season restarts in late July. The league is also encouraging players to not socialize or come within six feet of each other during upcoming games. Players and staff are required to report to their teams Wednesday, and Opening Day games will be on July 23 or 24.
-The Paycheck Protection Program winds down today with more than $130 billion left unused, the Washington Post reported. The stimulus program gave out $520 billion in loans meant to preserve workers’ jobs during the pandemic, according to the New York Times. Lenders said most companies wanting a loan got one and others feared the complicated rules of the plan could mean their loans would not be forgiven as expected, the Times reported.
-The United States was left off a list of 15 nations the European Union will open its borders to as of Wednesday, the New York Times reports. Brazil and Russia also failed to make the cut. The list of approved countries includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand, while travelers from China will be permitted if China reciprocates.
-Fans in South Korea will be allowed to return to professional baseball games in a few weeks, but they will have wear masks, sit at least a seat apart and they won’t be allowed to eat in the stands, the AP reported. They will also be discouraged from singing, shouting and cheering during the game. Initially, teams will be allowed to sell 30% of seats, the Korea Baseball Organization said.
For the latest coronavirus information in your county and a full list of important resources to help you make the smartest decisions regarding the disease, check out our dedicated COVID-19 page.