As Florida surpassed 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus, states in the Northeast are preparing for a surge in cases. Northeastern states, which were hit the hardest by the pandemic, have the lowest infection rates in the U.S., but health officials are racing to obtain protective masks and medical supplies to avoid yet another shortage.
Two days after the University of North Carolina announced it would pivot to online classes, university officials announced Wednesday that it would temporarily suspend all athletic activities until Thursday afternoon. The announcement comes after the athletics department said campus’ outbreak would not affect the football season.
Some significant developments:
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp defended his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday after a report from the White House coronavirus task force said Georgia led the nation last week in new cases per capita.
Florida, one of the hardest-hit states from the coronavirus, surpassed 10,000 deaths from COVID-19.
Pope Francis on Wednesday cautioned against prioritizing future coronavirus vaccines based on wealth: “How sad it would be if for the COVID-19 vaccine priority is given to the richest,” he said.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has 5.5 million confirmed infections and more than 172,000 deaths. Worldwide, there have been more than 784,000 deaths and 22.2 million cases, according to John Hopkins University data.
📰 What we’re reading: How did the stock market hit a record while the U.S. economy is in one of the sharpest economic downturns since the Great Depression? Here’s what experts say about the rebound.
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Los Angeles mayor shuts off power at Hollywood Hills home that hosted large parties
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti authorized city officials to shut off utility services at a home in Hollywood Hills that hosted large parties in “flagrant violation” of a ban on large gatherings amid the coroanvirus pandemic.
“This house has turned into a nightclub in the hills, hosting large gatherings in flagrant violation of our public health orders,” Garcetti said Wednesday.
The city has not identified the home’s address or the owner, but New York Times technology reporter Taylor Lorenz on Wednesday tweeted that the home was rented by TikTok personalities Bryce Hall, Noah Beck and Blake Gray.
Garcetti’s order comes days after hundreds attended a party at a mansion without masks or social distancing. That party ended in a shooting that killed a woman and wounded two other people.
Dozens of Arizona bars, gyms cleared by state to reopen
The Arizona Department of Health Services has given the OK for dozens of gyms, bars and theaters to reopen after reviewing their plans to limit the spread of COVID-19 at their businesses. The green light was given to two movie theaters, 31 fitness centers and five bars, though some of the businesses, like EoS Fitness, run multiple locations.
Last week, Gov. Doug Ducey and DHS unveiled complex new guidelines regarding when those businesses can reopen based on the rate coronavirus is spreading in a given county.
Arizona reported 105 new known deaths Wednesday as trends of fewer daily cases and improving hospital numbers continued. Inpatient hospitalizations, ICU beds in use, ventilators in use and ER visits for COVID-19 have all been on general downward trends over about the past five weeks, according to hospital data reported to the state.
– Ryan Randazzo and Alison Steinbach, Arizona Republic
Michigan to provide extra $300 in unemployment benefits
Michigan has applied for federal funding to provide an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic – less than the $600 boost that expired last month but still more than the maximum $362 weekly payment the state dispenses.
“This program will provide some much needed support for families that are struggling to put food on the table or pay their bills, but it’s a short term Band-Aid that falls short of what’s needed,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said in a statement Tuesday.
President Donald Trump this month signed an order extending the added weekly benefit after he and Congress were unable to agree to a broader new pandemic relief plan. States can choose a $300- or $400-a-week option, though they would have to chip in $100 toward the higher amount.
The state Unemployment Insurance Agency estimated that about 910,000 residents will get the extra $300. They will be paid retroactively to Aug. 1. It was unclear when the payments will begin or how many weeks they will cover.
– Associated Press
Report: Las Vegas casinos a likely hotspot for COVID-19 spread
Tourists visiting The Strip could be fueling the pandemic, according to a ProPublica investigation. An analysis of smartphone data during four days, a Friday to Monday in mid-July, revealed how most of the U.S. is connected to Las Vegas – a likely hot spot of COVID-19 spread.
During that time frame, about 26,000 devices were identified on The Strip, according to data mined by the companies X-Mode and Tectonix. Some of those smartphones then traveled to every state on the mainland except Maine.
Here’s a look at where those devices ended up during those same four days, according to Propublica:
About 3,700 of the devices were spotted in Southern California.
About 2,700 in Arizona, with 740 in Phoenix.
Around 1,000 in Texas.
More than 800 in Milwaukee, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland.
More than 100 in the New York area.
The cellphone analysis highlights a reason the virus keeps spreading and shows how travel to Las Vegas could be fueling the pandemic, according to health officials.
– Ed Komenda, Reno Gazette Journal
University of North Carolina suspends fall sports through Thursday afternoon
Just 48 hours after saying a COVID-19 outbreak on campus wouldn’t affect plans to play football this fall, the University of North Carolina has suspended all athletic activities through at least Thursday afternoon. In addition, all recreational facilities on the Chapel Hill campus will be closed to students, coaches and staff.
“After consulting with our health experts and University leadership, we are taking this action to protect our students, coaches and staff,” UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said. “We want to make sure we continue to do everything we can to ensure that that our teams, campus and community remain healthy.”
The school welcomed students back to campus for in-person classes last week, but after at least four clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks, university officials reversed course and moved all classes online.
– Steve Gardner
Northeast states – hard-hit by COVID-19 – prepare for a surge in cases
After all the death and suffering, the Northeast has the lowest infection rates in the country, but it is bracing for a second surge of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
Record-high COVID-19 infection rates in other parts of the country renewed reports of medical supply shortages, spanning from personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing supplies to disinfectant wipes and drugs.
Some health care workers and experts asserted all levels of government have failed to sufficiently shore up medical supply and distribution chains heading into the fall, complicating debates over reopening schools.
“We have not done enough, and I am deeply concerned that we will have ongoing COVID with influenza as well,” said Dr. Lewis Kaplan, president of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
“I am very concerned that we will reach that same place … where we will perhaps not have enough PPE again, and we will not have enough ventilators,” he said.
– David Robinson, New York State Team
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Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID news: Florida deaths; UNC fall sports; Michigan unemployment