Texas Suffers Record Jump In New COVID-19 Infections, Deaths Dip; Tokyo Raises COVID-19 Alert To Highest Level: Live Updates

Summary:

  • Tokyo raises alert COVID level to highest level
  • 3M, MIT working on rapid COVID test
  • Texas sees record jump in new cases
  • Fauci says Americans should ignore "political nonsense"
  • Spain places 160,000 under lockdown
  • EU drops Serbia, Montenegro from safe travel list
  • Arizona sees big jump with 4,273 new cases
  • North Carolina sees record hospitalized
  • Alabama reports record rise in deaths
  • Moderna releases latest clinical trial update
  • TMC releases latest Houston numbers
  • Philly bars all public events until Feb 2021
  • Florida positivity rate jumps to 15%+
  • Florida reports biggest jump in deaths
  • India places Bangalore back on lockdown
  • US daily cases below 60k
  • Global daily cases below 200k
  • Hong Kong imposes new restrictions
  • France makes mask wearing mandatory in public
  • Australia cases top 10k.
  • Iran closes mosques, schools
  • WHO warns: "there will be no return to normal"

* * *

Update (2010ET): As was widely telegraphed ahead of time, Tokyo has raised its COVID-19 alert back to its highest level.

* * *

Update (1917ET): Here's some news we missed earlier on.

3M, the Minnesota-based industrial giant, is working with MIT researchers to develop a rapid test for COVID-19. The research could lead to a way to produce accurate results in minutes, according to a statement.

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Update (1730ET): Two days after Florida reports more than 15k cases in a day, Texas just reported its own record jump, reporting 10,745 new cases, while the daily death toll declined to 87. The positivity rate climbed to 18%.

The Texas Tribune has reported that hospitals around the state are running out of ventilators, drugs and other beds.

* * *

Update (1630ET): Building on comments from the other day, Dr. Fauci said Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak will be remembered as a "pandemic of historic proportions" - even on a level with the Spanish Flu.

"I think we can’t deny that fact," Fauci said during a Georgetown University Global Health Initiative webinar. "If you look at the magnitude of the 1918 pandemic where anywhere from 50 to 75 to 100 million people globally died, that was the mother of all pandemics and truly historic. I hope we don’t even approach that with this, but it does have the makings of, the possibility of...approaching that in seriousness."

After covering the usual talking points, the interviewer asked Fauci whom Americans can trust for information on the Pandemic. He said they shouldn't pay attention to "political nonsense". He also urged young people to be careful, and realize that their actions affect the pandemic.

* * *

Update (1235ET): As expected, the EU refused to add the US to its safe travel list, while also opting to remove Serbia and Montenegro as the Balkans struggles with what is perhaps the biggest resurgence of new COVID-19 cases in Europe.

After their exclusion, 13 countries remain on the EU list. They include: Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. However, while China remains, its presence comes with an asterisk as it's contingent on China allowing Europeans to travel to the mainland, a principle that isn't applied to any other country.

Aside from the new travel restrictions, Spain and the local government in Barcelona have placed 160,000 people in the Lleida area, part of Spain's Catalan region, under lockdown. The new restrictions still need to be approved by a judge.

The new restrictions, which still need to be approved by another judge after the conflicting orders provoked confusion among residents, would come into force in the city of Lleida and seven towns around it on Wednesday and last for 15 days, Catalan government spokeswoman Meritxell Budo said.

The regional government was confident the judge would approve the new decree issued as it gives Catalan authorities a stronger legal footing in tackling outbreaks, she said.

The new restrictions would only allow people to leave their homes for specific activities like working, buying groceries or exercising.

Gatherings of more than 10 people would be banned, she said.

Hotels would be closed, as well as restaurants and bars except for food pick-up or delivery.

Residents of Lleida, which lies about 180 km (110 miles) west of Barcelona, have been blocked from leaving the area since 4 July amid a surge in coronavirus infections.

As cases continued to rise, the regional government on Sunday attempted to confine citizens to their homes but a local judge struck down the order, spreading confusion among residents and further uncertainty among local businesses.

These are just the latest moves by European governments (and Brussels) to rollback their economic reopening efforts as new COVID-19 cases have plateaued and started to return.

* * *

Update (1230ET): North Carolina caught the attention of COVID-19 trackers as hospitalizations climbed to a record high.

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Update (1120ET): Arizona just reported another 4,273 (+3.5%) new cases for Tuesday, which is much higher than yesterday's total, and higher than the 7-day average of 2.9%. However, the state explained that the unusually large number (what would be a record jump) also includes some data that was reported late on the prior day, and has been lumped in with Tuesday's numbers.

The state also reported 92 new deaths.

There have been 128,097 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,337 deaths reported in Arizona as of Tuesday morning.

As the debate over reopening schools rages, a story about an Arizona summer school teacher who contracted the virus at work and died is going viral.

 

Alabama, meanwhile, just reported a record 40 deaths on Tuesday, its highest daily total yet, bringing the total to 1,164, while cases climbed 1,673 to a total of 57,218.

* * *

Update (1115ET): With markets in the red, Moderna has swooped in with another minor update, hoping to give the algos a jolt.

  • MODERNA SAYS PHASE 3 VIRUS VACCINE TRIAL TO BEGIN ON JULY 27
  • MODERNA TRIAL WILL ENROLL 30,000 PEOPLE AT HIGH INFECTION RISK
  • MODERNA POSTS DETAILS OF VACCINE STUDY ON CLINICALTRIALS.GOV

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Update (1100ET): Texas Medical Center's daily data releases, which are reported with a slightly longer delay than the state numbers for new cases and deaths, has become a popular indicator of the situation in Houston, as hospital admissions are a more absolute measure of the virus's impact in a given area. 

Hospital admissions fell to their lowest single-day total since late June.

Yesterday, 1582 people were reported as testing positive for COVID-19 in the Greater Houston Area. Over the last week, it averaged 1,776 new cases per day, 4x the level from the peak in April. Yesterday, the system added 247 new COVID-19 patients, compared to a daily average of 101 from a month ago.

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Update (1100ET): Music venues and other event spaces are going to have a hard time surviving now that Philly has reportedly banned all large public events until Feb. 21.

Here's more from 6ABC:

The City of Philadelphia will not permit any large public events for the next several months as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Action News has learned that order will be in effect through February 28, 2021.

The fate of any events that would potentially be impacted was not immediately known.

More details are expected at a city news conference at 1 p.m.

The move follows a similar decision by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who ordered all large public events (with the notable exception of BLM protests (and only BLM protests, apparently), cancelled for the time being.

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Update (1040ET): Florida reported 9,194 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a lower total than the record and near-record highs from the last few days, taking the statewide total to 291,629, while also reporting 132 new deaths, another daily record, bringing the total to 4,277.

The number of hospitalized patients climbed to a new record high at 18,881, compared with 18,498 yesterday.

Statewide, Florida has completed 2.6 million tests for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with 10.7% coming back positive. The rate of positivity among people tested for COVID-19 across Florida topped out at over 18% for tests processed Wednesday. Positivity lowered to 11.4% for tests processed Sunday.

But on Tuesday, the rate had climbed back to 15% (remember, all data is reported with a 24-hour delay).

Meanwhile, Andrew Cuomo added New Mexico, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin to the list of state's where travelers must quarantine for 2 weeks if traveling to NY, CT or NJ. Meanwhile, Delaware has been removed.

That brings the total to 22 states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin

And here's NY's update on the numbers.

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Update (1015ET): India’s IT hub Bangalore has entered a new week-long lockdown on Tuesday as the number of coronavirus cases in India surges past 900,000 leaving the world's second-largest country on track to become the third country to pass 1 million cases after the US and Brazil.

After imposing one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in late March, India had been steadily easing restrictions to try and revive its battered economy. However, despite widespread public fear of the virus, the outbreak has still come roaring back. India has also reported 24,000 deaths, according to health ministry figures.

* * *

The number of new coronavirus cases reported yesterday in the US remained below the critical 60k threshold, but from Asia to Europe, economies that only recently appeared to have beaten the coronavirus are now imposing new restrictions to try and prevent a resurgence.

But globally, the number of new cases remained near a recently hit record high, pushing the worldwide total to 13,238,121 as of Tuesday morning. Though crucially, the number of cases reported yesterday came in just below 200k, roughly 30k shy of the record.

The death toll from the deadly virus has reached 575,543 globally, according to Worldometer. Of the currently infected 4,964,306 patients, 4,905,425 were in mild condition, while 58,881 were in serious or critical condition.

Last night (Tuesday morning in HK), Hong Kong announced plans to impose a new lockdown that appears to be even more restrictive than the measures it imposed during the opening weeks of the outbreak. While HK had previously relied on closing borders with the mainland, the new measures focus on suppressing domestic transmission. They include: that face masks will be mandatory for people using public transport and restaurants will no longer provide dine-in services, instead only offering takeaway service.

We teased the new measures in our report from yesterday, when a top HK epidemiologist warned that a mutated strain of the virus circulating in HK is even more infectious than its predecessor.

If an individual doesn't wear a mask on public transport, they face a fine of HK$5,000 ($645). Gatherings would be limited to 4 people from 50. Gyms, places of amusement and other establishments must shut for a week.

"The recent emergence of local cases of unknown infection source indicates the existence of sustained silent transmission in the community," the government said in a statement late on Monday.

The Chinese-ruled city recorded 52 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, including 41 that were locally transmitted, health authorities said, bringing its total outbreak to 224 people over the past week.

In Australia, Melbourne remains on lockdown while the number of new cases being reported continues to climb, the Australian state of Victoria has recorded 270 new cases of coronavirus, while New South Wales recorded 13, bringing the national total to about 10,250.

As the US outbreak in the Sun Belt nears its peak, the EU is reportedly set to recommend keeping its external borders shut to Americans and most other foreigners for at least two more weeks as fears grow of a second coronavirus wave.

As fears about a resurgence in Asia intensify, the WHO raised concerns over the Philippines’ rising number of new cases, which have swamped some local hospitals as the number of new cases being reported daily hits record after new record.

The proportion of positive cases in the country is gradually increasing from about 6.5% two weeks ago to about 7.8% on Monday, WHO representative in the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe warned.

"This is worrying as it shows that there is continuing transmission. This is also reflected by the increased number of admissions into hospitals," he said.

Similarly, after recording a record jump in deaths a few days ago, Iran is reeling from its own resurgence, prompting Tehran to close schools, universities, Shia seminaries, mosques and other sites of religious gatherings for at least a week, local state news reported. Iran reported 2,521 new cases and 179 deaths overnight, bringing the total figures to 262,173 cases and 13,211 deaths.

As Catalonian government imposes new restrictions on local hot spots, across the border in France, President Macron warned that the virus "is coming back a little bit" and that starting next week, France will make mask wearing compulsory in public spaces.

During a press briefing Tuesday in Geneva, the WHO warned the pandemic could get far worse if countries around the world do not follow basic healthcare precautions.

"The virus remains public enemy number one," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva.

"There will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future," Tedros said.