NJ Tightens Restrictions On Crowd Sizes, Houston Orders Police To Enforce Mandatory Mask Rules: Live Updates

Summary:

  • Texas reports 5,839 new coronavirus cases
  • Houston mayor asks police to issue tickets to people who aren't masked
  • Newsom says all major COVID-19 benchmarks in the state are trending down
  • CDC releases back-to-school decision-making tool for parents
  • California cases slow to 5,739 new cases, hospitalizations climb by 132
  • NJ lowers limit on number of people allowed at indoor, outdoor gatheirngs
  • NJ rate of transmission hits 1.48
  • UK gov't games out plan to close London should 'second wave' intensify
  • Arizona reports just 1,030 new cases as hospitalizations fall for 12th day
  • Iran's death toll is 3x larger than previously believed
  • Issues plague school reopenings in Indiana, Georgia
  • NYC will bring back outdoor dining next summer, mayor says
  • Owner, captain of NYC party boat arrested after flouting restrictions
  • Kosovo PM infected by COIVD
  • Eli Lilly starts testing new antibody-based COVID drug
  • New Florida cases decline as testing stations closed
  • 46 hospitals in FLA have no open ICU beds
  • More schools reopen in Indiana, Georgia, elsewhere
  • Global COVID cases top 18 million
  • Australia imposes tighter lockdown on Melbourne
  • Duterte revives Manilla lockdown
  • COVID US cases slow
  • HK reports 80 new cases, first reading below 100 in two weeks
  • Gottlieb says lockdowns may not always be most appropriate solution

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Update (1630ET): The mayor of Houston has just issued an order to local police to issue tickets to anybody not wearing a mask.

Meanwhile, Texas reported 5,839 new cases, and 37 new deaths, while hospitalizations rose by 209 to 8,819 hospitalizations statewide.

The statewide positivity rate hit 13.6%.

Keep in mind, Texas changed how it reports deaths on its dashboard, making the daily figures in the chart useless, for our purposes, since those figures aren't used by academics, the media, investors and public health officials.

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Update (1520ET): Gov Newsom's briefing was pretty optimistic on Monday. Following data showing a sharp decline in newly reported cases, the governor celebrated the fact that all of the major metrics (new cases, hospitalizations etc) are "all trending down."

As we noted earlier, some of the first school districts in the US reopened for in-person learning on Friday and Monday. And at least one school district in Georgia has already uncovered an outbreak affecting its football team.

The AP wrote a whole piece about the schools reopening. It mostly focused on mother's reactions to letting their little ones return to schools, where risk of infection is much higher than home.

Rachel Adamus was feeling those emotions at sunrise Monday as she got 7-year-old Paul ready for his first day of second grade and prepared 5-year-old Neva for the start of kindergarten.

With a new school year beginning this week in some states, Adamus struggled to balance her fears with her belief that her children need the socialization and instruction that school provides, even as the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has hit about 155,000 and cases are rising in numerous places.

As the bus pulled away from the curb in Adamus' Dallas, Georgia, neighborhood, the tears finally began to fall.

"We have kept them protected for so long,” said Adamus, who said her aunt died from COVID-19 in Alabama and her husband’s great uncle succumbed to the virus in a New Jersey nursing home. "They haven’t been to restaurants. We only go to parks if no one else is there. We don’t take them to the grocery store. And now they’re going to be in the classroom with however many kids for an entire day with a teacher."

With schools set to reopen around the country in the coming weeks, teachers from the northeast to California remain in limbo in regards to what the plan will be.

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Update (1430ET): California reported 5,739 new cases, bringing its total to 514,901  (prev. +9,032).

The state saw hospitalizations fall by 132 to 7,629 on Monday, the State Health Department said.

Gov Gavin Newsom will deliver a live briefing on the state's COIVD-19 response at 1500ET:

Meanwhile, the CDC has reportedly released a "back to school" decision making tool for parents.

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Update (1315ET): As New Jersey's COVID-19 transmission rate climbs following a series of house parties that prompted a harsh warning from Gov Murphy, the governor on Monday decided to lower the number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor gatherings, lowering the limit from 100 to 25.

Gov Murphy and state health officials have blamed a slight uptick in the state's cases on young people refusing to follow social distancing guidelines. He also revealed that the rate of transmission in the state had climbed to 1.48.

Even more alarmingly, as shellshocked Britons continue to panic about the virus even though signs of a rebound remain very muted, media reports have reported on government plans to combat a future spike in the virus by allowing ministers to completely lock down London in the coming months, if the virus returns to what was formerly the UK's biggest hotspot.

The so-called Contain Strategy, unveiled last month, "does set out the possibility of a power to restrict people’s movement and potentially close down local transport networks,” said BoJo spokesman James Slack when asked if the government had gamed out the possibility of shuttering the capital.

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Update (1230ET): Before the next raft of state infection numbers hit the tape, we'd like to circle back to a story that hit early Monday morning: WSJ reported that a new antibody-based COVID-19 treatment being developed by Eli Lilly in partnership with Canadian  AbCellera Biologics has just started a new study that aims to test up to 2,400 subjects in nursing homes and other long-term care homes.

The new drug is part of a class of antibody based drugs that are based on antibodies harvested from the blood of one of the first Americans to contract and survive the virus.

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Update (1115ET): Arizona just reported 1,030 new cases (+0.6%) on Monday, its smallest daily increase since late June. That's compared with 1.3% 7-day average.

The state also reported 14 more deaths on Monday, the lowest count since July 13, bringing the state's tallies to 179,497 (for confirmed cases) and 3,779 (for deaths). 

The spread of coronavirus in Arizona has been slowing in the weeks after the implementation of face mask requirements in many areas, including all of Maricopa County, the worst-hit county in AZ, and statewide executive orders to close businesses such as bars and gyms and restrict dine-in service.

Arizona's positivity rate declined to 12.9% statewide.

In other news, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti revealed late last night that he had tested positive for COVID-19, but was not experiencing any serious symptoms.

During his latest update from city hall, Mayor de Blasio said that his outdoor dining program for NYC restaurants has been so successful,  he would revive it next year, while largely dithering about plans for returning students to school, which is supposed to start in a few weeks.

More than 9,000 restaurants have set up tables on sidewalks, curbs and on streets closed to traffic in the past few months, the mayor said. Outdoor dining will begin June 1 next year. It will also continue in NYC until the cold weather makes it impermissible.

Meanwhile, as NYC struggles to keep looking tough on COVID-19 enforcement, officers arrested the owners and captain of The Liberty Belle, a large riverboat that can fit up to 600 guests with four bars and three outdoor decks, after the boat flouted NYC's social distancing rules to hold a party with 170 guests on board.

Over in the Middle East, the BBC reported that following Iran's latest explosion in COVID-19 deaths, the true death toll may be almost 3x larger than official count.

Spain just diagnosed 968 new cases over the last 24 hours, bringing its total to 297,054.

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Update (1100ET): With more testing centers closed, Florida reports 4,752 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, along with another 73 deaths. It's the fewest number of new cases reported since June 23, though it comes after a weekend when many test sites were closed.

The state has 491,884 total cases, the most in the country after California, which has more than half a million cases. The death toll hit 7,279.

We'll likely need to wait a few days to see whether the trend of declining new cases remains intact.

In other news, more states around the country are sending staff back to school for the first time since education shut down around the country back in the spring.

Already, over the weekend, just days after public schools reopening in Indiana for the first time, at least one student and one school staff member have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to reports that emerged over the weekend. The infections occurred in the Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation, 20 miles east of Indianapolis. A student tested positive on his first day back in class, meaning he likely contracted the virus elsewhere.

Parents at another early-open school district in Georgia complained to CNN in a story published last week before schools reopened with only staff allowed on-site. And on Monday, a spate of new positive tests has prompted North Paulding High School near Atlanta to consider delaying the return of in-person classes, which were supposed to start imminently, after an outbreak affecting the football team. Football practices have been cancelled, the school said. School is supposed to start Monday with a mix of both in-class and virtual learning.

Circling back to hard-hit Florida, 46 hospitals around the state still have no open ICU beds and 26 hospitals have just one available ICU bed, according to Fla.'s Agency for Healthcare Administration. 4 counties - Jackson, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee - said no ICU beds were available as of Monday morning, the agency said. These numbers typically fluctuate throughout the day.

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New coronavirus flareups that have emerged over the past few weeks across Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Australia have driven global infection rates to their highest levels yet. By early Monday morning in New York, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had surpassed 18 million...

...as the world reports roughly 250,000 new cases a day, leaving the world on track to surpass 19 million by the end of the week.

Lockdowns initially helped Europe, China, South Korea and parts of the US to suppress the virus. But similar measures adopted by Australia's Victoria State - home of the country's second-biggest city, Melbourne - have failed to suppress a second-wave of the outbreak.

While analysts at JPM question whether lockdowns are the smartest strategy to confront outbreaks in the second wave, Australia’s Victoria state has doubled down, announcing Monday that it would shut down large parts of its retail and manufacturing sectors for another six weeks.

One day after declaring a state of disaster, Premier Daniel Andrews also announced that construction firms must radically reduce the number of workers on-site across the city. While essential services such as banks, supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations remain open, production at meat-processing plants across Victoria will be reduced by one-third, potentially limiting supplies of meat and driving up food prices during already trying times.

The new measures - which follow lockdowns, curfews and other restrictions - will further limit movement and activity, especially at night, and ultimately force 1 million workers to stay home, according to the BBC.

Workers forced to stay home can apply for benefits to compensate them for some of their lost wages, up to

Despite imposing a strict lockdown three weeks ago (these new measures add to the restrictions already in place), the outbreak in Victoria has continued to worsen. Until about 4 weeks ago, Australia held the title of one of the most successful virus response efforts of any anglophone country. But a seemingly unstoppable outbreak centered around Melbourne has brought the country to its worst place yet.

Elsewhere in Asia, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the country's capital, Manila, back on lockdown starting Aug. 4 after the country recorded its biggest single-day jump in new cases yet, with 3,226 new infections confirmed and 46 additional deaths. That marked the fourth straight day that the Philippines had recorded a new record jump in infections, putting it on track to surpass Indonesia as the country with the biggest outbreak in Southeast Asia.

Health officials announced that the country's total confirmed cases had reached 106,330 confirmed cases and 2,104 deaths.

In the US, which saw the number of new cases reported decline again on Sunday, Dr. Birx warned last night that the virus is more widespread than ever across the country, while Dem leader Nancy Pelosi said she didn't have much confidence in Dr. Birx, whom she denounced as an unreliable Trump appointee.

Another silver lining: Hong Kong reported 80 new cases, the first time in 12 days that the SAR reported a daily rise of fewer than 100 new cases. A team of Chinese officials are rolling out a new mass-testing regime in the quasi-autonomous territory that is still reeling from a new national security law imposed by Beijing that cracks down on political dissent.

Finally: During his daily appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box", former FDA head Scott Gottlieb said  governments should work toward a "happy medium" of closures and restrictions that does the least amount of damage to the economy while keeping the virus mostly at bay.

"The question is: can they hang on to those gains, or are they being quietly seeded right now"...the bottom line question is targeted mitigation - you close bars....you move activities outside - combined with universal masking...is that enough to keep the virus at bay,"

"If it can, then we may have found some kind of happy medium if you will between lockdowns and unfettered spread."

Watch the clip below: