Coronavirus update: ‘The worst is yet to come,’ WHO official says
Written by Leah Jones on June 30, 2020
Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, IVAN PEREIRA and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 502,000 people worldwide.
Over 10.1 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 2.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 125,928 deaths.
– US reports more than 38,800 new cases
– Trump secures half a million treatment courses of remdesivir
– Over 200 urged to quarantine after positive case at a Planet Fitness
– New York state records lowest rise in deaths since March
– New York City’s indoor dining ‘now in question,’ mayor says
Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.
8:42 p.m.: Los Angeles beaches to close July 4th weekend
Los Angeles County beaches will be closed during the Fourth of July weekend, the county’s Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station said.
Beaches, piers, beach bike paths and beach access points will be closed from Friday through Monday, officials said. Trespassers will be subject to a $1,000 fine, police said.
The measure comes amid rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county. Earlier Monday, Los Angeles became the first county in the country to hit 100,000 cases.
8:12 p.m.: Arizona bars, gyms, movie theaters to close for a month
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered bars, indoor gyms, indoor movie theaters, water parks and tubing operators to pause operations, as the state sees a surge in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The order is effective Monday at 8 p.m. local time and will last until July 27, unless extended.
Bars can still provide take-out and curbside service.
The state is also delaying the start of the school year to Aug. 17 and prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people. Arizona schools typically open as early as July.
Most businesses were able to resume operations when the state’s stay-at-home order expired in mid-May.
On Sunday, Arizona saw a record 3,858 new daily COVID-19 cases, and a record 2,691 hospitalizations.
7:05 p.m.: Los Angeles County surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 cases
Los Angeles County has become the first county in the country to hit 100,000 cases of COVID-19.
The county has also reported its largest daily increase of new cases, with 2,903. It now has 100,772 total cases.
Only seven states in the U.S. have more than 100,000 cases, according to data collected by the COVID Tracking Project: California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Texas.
Los Angeles County’s public health director, Barbara Ferrer, blamed the increase on businesses and individuals “who haven’t followed the directives,” by failing to physically distance at businesses and having close contact with those outside their household.
The county’s seven-day testing positivity rate has risen to nearly 9%, and hospitalizations have increased 27% in the last two weeks, officials said.
Ferrer said the increase in cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations is “alarming.”
“If you’re not part of the solution to slowing the spread, you’re ending up being part of the problem,” she said.
5:32 p.m.: U.S. airlines to strengthen travel policies
All major U.S. airlines will now require passengers to answer a health assessment during the check-in process, which includes agreeing to wear a face mask on board.
Airlines for America, the industry trade organization representing seven U.S. airlines, announced the new procedures for all passengers. They include agreeing to wear a face covering at the airport, on the jet bridge and on the plane; offering assurance that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms, such as coughing or loss of taste or smell; and offering assurance that they have not had exposure to someone who tested positive or had COVID-19 symptoms in the last 14 days.
Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines now or will require passengers to complete the temporary health acknowledgment during the check-in process, the organization said.
3:06 p.m.: WHO official warns pandemic is not close to over
Officials from the World Health Organization gave strong warnings about the pandemic, telling reporters COVID-19 is “not even close to being over.”
Tuesday marks the six-month anniversary since the organization was first notified about the virus and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said people need to reflect on the progress made and the road ahead.
“None of us could have imagined how our world, and our lives would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus,” he said.
Tedros urged global solidarity in fighting the disease and increases seen across the world.
“The worst is yet to come,” he said.
2:38 p.m.: New Jersey backtracks on planned indoor dining reopening
Gov. Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey will pause its reopening of the state’s indoor dining, which was slated for Thursday.
Murphy cited “spikes” in cases in other parts of the country where restrictions on indoor dining were lifted.
“We have been cautious throughout every step of our restart,” he tweeted. “We’ve always said that we would not hesitate to hit pause if needed to safeguard public health. This is one of those times.”
2:15 p.m.: Utah governor urges Pence to encourage face coverings
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told Vice President Mike Pence during his weekly conference call with governors that his state is becoming complacent and led to a “spike” in cases over the last three or four weeks, according to audio obtained by ABC News.
While Herbert, a Republican, stressed that the state’s fatality rate is .8%, he urged Pence and the president to send a message to the public that wearing a face covering is the best way to fight the pandemic.
“I think mister vice president if you and President Trump could say — not as necessarily a mandate but as a best practice, ‘If you want to stop the spread, if you want to slow down the spread, as a best practice … we recommend that you wear a mask,'” Herbert said.
Pence responded by reiterating that the administration would support leaders who promote face coverings.
“We were in Texas yesterday and we made it very clear that people should wear a mask whenever state local authorities indicate that it’s appropriate, or when social distancing is not possible,” the vice president said.
2:07 p.m.: Planet Fitness responds to case in West Virginia location
Planet Fitness said it is working with local health officials after one of its members tested positive for the novel coronavirus in West Virginia.
More than 200 people who use the gym on Fort Pierpont Drive in Morgantown have been asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
“At Planet Fitness, the safety of our team and members is our top priority,” company spokeswoman McCall Gosselin told ABC News in a statement Monday. “We have been in communication with the Monongalia County Health Department upon being notified that a member in our Morgantown, WV location tested positive for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, the club is temporarily closed for deep cleaning and we are not aware of any additional members or team members reporting symptoms at this time. We will continue to take every necessary precaution to ensure the safety of our community, and we have taken a number of steps across all of our locations, which include enhanced cleanliness and sanitization policies and procedures, extensive training for staff, physical distancing measures, reducing physical touch points in the club with touchless check-in, and more.”
1:30 p.m.: WHO official asked about Trump’s ‘kung-flu’ comments
Officials from the World Health Organization were asked during their daily briefing about their thoughts on the president using racist terminology to talk about the pandemic.
WHO emergencies Chief Dr. Mike Ryan didn’t refer to Trump by name but said, “many people have used unfortunate language in this response.” During a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump referred to the pandemic as “kung-flu,” to a laughing crowd of supporters.
“It is unfortunate if our global discourse is reduced to base language. That never helps,” Ryan said.
The official added WHO would like to see a discourse that was more appropriate from all world leaders.
“In that sense, we encourage all people, at all levels, and in all countries to use language that is appropriate, respectful and is not associated with any connotations that are negative,” Ryan said.
WHO officials added they are sending a team to China to investigate the virus’ origins and emphasized the important of strong contact tracing programs.
12:21 p.m.: Cuomo pushes Trump to mandate face coverings as cases decline in NY
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed the federal government and other states for not doing enough to curb the rise in COVID-19 cases and urged them to enforce safeguards.
Cuomo specifically called on President Donald Trump to sign an executive order that would mandate face coverings across the nation.
“We did it two months ago … the other states are just starting to this now,” he said. “Let the president lead by example. Let the president put a mask on.”
Cuomo said he is concerned that the rise of coronavirus cases would hurt New York, which was once the epicenter of the pandemic but is now on a decline in the number of cases and deaths. At its peak in the beginning of April, the state saw its three-day average of new COVID-19 deaths around 763, and on Sunday, that three-day average was eight, according to Cuomo.
The governor also unveiled a sculpture of a mountain made of Styrofoam that he said symbolized the state’s coronavirus case curve.
“I wanted to show New Yorkers what they did,” he said. “And remember what we went through.”
11:39 a.m.: Broadway shows suspended for rest of year
New York City’s iconic Broadway shows will be suspended through the rest of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry, made the announcement Monday, saying theaters are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for all performances through Jan. 3, 2021. The organization said it’s working with city and state officials as well as key experts “to formulate the best plan to restart the industry.”
Broadway shows were initially suspended on March 12 at the start of the pandemic. There were 31 productions running at that time, while an additional eight were in rehearsals preparing to open in the spring.
Returning productions are currently projected to resume performances over a series of rolling dates early next year. Tickets for performances next winter and spring are expected to go on sale in the coming weeks, according to the Broadway League.
“The Broadway experience can be deeply personal but it is also, crucially, communal,” Thomas Schumacher, chair of the board of the Broadway League, said in a statement Monday. “The alchemy of 1000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses. Every single member of our community is eager to get back to work sharing stories that inspire our audience through the transformative power of a shared live experience. The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so. One thing is for sure, when we return we will be stronger and more needed than ever.”
11:02 a.m.: New York City’s indoor dining ‘now in question,’ mayor says
While New York City prepares to enter the next phase of its reopening plan, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that indoor dining “is now in question.”
De Blasio said the city is on track to move into phase three of reopening next Monday, but he will reexamine the indoor dining element and possibly pause or modify it. The mayor said he will have more to say on the issue in the coming days.
However, de Blasio said outdoor dining is “clearly working.” The mayor announced that barbecue areas in the city’s parks will be reopened for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.
New York City, once the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States, entered phase two of reopening last week, which allowed restaurants to resume outdoor dining services.
De Blasio said the COVID-19 indicators — including the daily number of hospitalizations and patients in intensive care — remain below the desired thresholds.
“The New York City story is pretty damn good,” the mayor told reporters Monday.
10:36 a.m.: UK needs an interventionist approach to economy, prime minister says
The United Kingdom should take an activist and interventionist approach to the economy to help it recover from the coronavirus crisis, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday.
“I believe personally that what the government has got to do right now is keep going with an activist, interventionist approach,” Johnson told reporters. “But that’s the way also to get business to be confident, to start investing, to start taking people back and start creating new jobs and driving new growth.”
The United Kingdom has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The country has one of the highest death tolls from COVID-19 in the world, after the United States and Brazil.
Meanwhile, a recent forecast from the Bank of England predicts the United Kingdom is heading for its worst economic downturn in more than 300 years.
9:05 a.m.: Putin says he ‘regularly’ gets tested for COVID-19
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he gets tested for the novel coronavirus every “three to four days,” according to a new interview with state-run television channel Rossiya-1.
So far, Putin said all his tests results have been negative, “thank god.”
The Russian leader admitted that having to work from home was a challenge for him because he enjoys having direct communication with other people.
On Monday, Russia’s coronavirus headquarters reported 6,719 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the nationwide total to 641,156. Russia has the third-highest number of diagnosed cases in the world, after the United States and Brazil, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Russia’s death toll from the disease now stands at 9,166, after an additional 93 patients died over the past 24 hours, according to the country’s coronavirus headquarters.
8:20 a.m.: Americans must ‘act responsibly,’ health secretary says
Amid a rise in coronavirus infections across the United States, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is calling on Americans to practice social distancing and wear face masks as people return to work and school.
“We have all got to as Americans act responsibly, even as we reopen and get back to work, get back to school and get back to health care, we’ve got to practice social distancing. We’ve got to use face coverings when we can’t practice social distancing,” Azar told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Monday on Good Morning America.
Many areas in the southern part of the country are now experiencing “very serious outbreaks,” where the average age of people testing positive for COVID-19 is reportedly 35 or younger and many are asymptomatic, according to Azar.
“We have a lot more tools now than we had two months ago,” he said, “but still there is a heavy burden on us in terms of our collective responsibility as individuals when we reopen.”
7:12 a.m.: Trump secures half a million treatment courses of remdesivir
U.S. President Donald Trump has secured half a million treatment courses of remdesivir for American hospitals through September, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Monday.
It’s the first antiviral medication to show effectiveness against the novel coronavirus in human clinical trials.
“This is the drug that, if you’re hospitalized, can reduce the length of your stay by a third,” Azar told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Monday on Good Morning America.
The deal between the Trump administration and California-based drug maker Gilean Sciences allows U.S. hospitals to purchase remdesivir in amounts allocated by the Department of Human and Health Services as well as state health departments.
The federal government is working with states to make sure the drug “gets to the hospitals most in need,” Azar added.
Gilead originally developed remdesivir to treat patients with Ebola virus disease. In May, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the drug for emergency use to treat patients hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19. Since then, the U.S. government has been distributing treatment courses of remdesivir that were donated by Gilead.
There is currently no FDA-approved products to treat or prevent COVID-19.
Gilead announced Monday that it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course of remdesivir for patients covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed nations where the drug is authorized for use. The price would be $3,120 for patients with private health insurance in the United States.
6:18 a.m.: Over 200 urged to quarantine after positive case at a Planet Fitness
More than 200 people in West Virginia are being asked to quarantine themselves and watch for symptoms after a gymgoer tested positive for COVID-19.
The positive case is a client of Planet Fitness on Fort Pierpont Drive in Morgantown, and the Monongalia County Health Department is now urging members who were there between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time on June 24 to stay home for 14 days since being exposed. An estimated 205 people were at the gym during that window of time.
ABC News has reached out to Planet Fitness for comment.
The individuals should not leave their homes until July 8 or unless to seek medical care. Those who develop symptoms should contact their primary care provider and get tested.
“They also should do their best to stay away from others in their household,” Dr. Lee B. Smith, Monongalia County health officer and executive director of the county’s health department, said in a statement Saturday. “Ways to do this would be to stay primarily in one area of the home and to wear a mask if you must be around others.”
West Virginia has seen an uptick in coronavirus infections in recent weeks. In the past 10 days, the Mountain State has reported an increase of about 400 COVID-19 cases. In the 10 days prior to that, the case count climbed by about 240, according to health officials.
As of late Saturday afternoon, West Virginia had reported a total of 2,782 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Monongalia County currently has 152 cases, up 21 cases in the past 10 days, health officials said.
Residents are encouraged to wear masks in public, wash hands thoroughly and often, and maintain a distance of six feet from others.
“These measures have proven to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Smith said. “If we want to continue to open up businesses and avoid the need to reverse some of the steps we have taken, people must take these precautions seriously.”
5:52 a.m.: New York records lowest rise in deaths since March
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday the state’s lowest death toll and hospitalizations from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Just five new deaths were reported in New York state on Saturday — the lowest single-day increase since March 15. The statewide death toll now stands at 24,830, according to Cuomo.
Hospitalizations also continued to drop — now below 900 — and less than 1% of COVID-19 tests were positive on Saturday, Cuomo said.
There were 616 new cases confirmed, bringing the statewide total to 392,539, according to Cuomo.
New York, once the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic in the United States, and other northeastern states have made major progress in recovering from their outbreaks. Meanwhile, several southern and western states are experiencing an alarming surge in new infections.
An ABC News analysis found that seven states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah — have seen a record number of new cases since Friday.
4:39 a.m.: China sees decline in new cases
China on Monday reported just 12 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths, as the country which was the original epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic continues to see a downward trend in infections.
Five of the new cases were imported from overseas while seven were cases of domestic transmission in Beijing, where more than 8 million of the city’s 21 million residents have been tested for the novel coronavirus in recent weeks. The Chinese capital has seen a recent spike in infections, though the number of new cases reported there on Monday was down by half from the previous day, according to China’s National Health Commission.
Overall, the Chinese mainland has reported 83,512 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with at least 4,634 deaths. There are still 418 patients receiving treatment for the disease, while another 112 are under observation for testing positive without showing any symptoms or for being suspected cases, according to the National Health Commission.
3:42 a.m.: US reports more than 38,800 new cases
More than 38,800 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Sunday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The latest daily caseload is down from the country’s record high of more than 45,000 new cases identified last Friday.
The national total currently stands at 2,549,028 diagnosed cases with at least 125,803 deaths.
The new cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.
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 and then crossing 40,000 last week.
Nearly half of all 50 states have seen a rise in infections in recent weeks, with some — such as Florida, South Carolina and Georgia — reporting daily records.
ABC News’ Alina Lobzina, Katherine Faulders, Marilyn Heck, Matthew Fuhrman, Bonnie Mclean, Sam Sweeney and Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.
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