The Latest: Fauci: US could reach 100,000 new cases a day
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci said coronavirus cases could grow to 100,000 a day in the U.S. if Americans don’t start following public health recommendations.
The nation’s leading infectious disease expert made the remark at a Senate hearing on reopening schools and workplaces.
Asked to forecast the outcome of recent surges in some states, Fauci said he can’t make an accurate prediction but believes it will be “very disturbing.”
“We are now having 40-plus-thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned,” said Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health.
Fauci said areas seeing recent outbreaks are putting the entire nation at risk, including areas that have made progress in reducing COVID-19 cases. He cited recent video footage of people socializing in crowds, often without masks, and otherwise ignoring safety guidelines.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Experts say the pandemic is wreaking havoc in poor and war-torn nations.
— Virus cases worldwide hit 10 million and deaths have surpassed 500,000.
— UK PM Boris Johnson says the pandemic “has been a disaster” for Britain.
— Hunger stalks Yemen’s children as pandemic hits Arab world’s poorest nation.
— Nurses, doctors feel strain as virus races through Arizona.
— The pandemic means millions of women in Africa and other developing regions could lose years of success in contributing to household incomes and asserting their independence.
Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
WILMINGTON, Del. — Joe Biden says he has not been tested for COVID-19 yet but expects to be “relatively soon.”
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, speaking to reporters after a campaign event in Delaware on Tuesday, said he hasn’t yet taken a test because “I have had no symptoms” and “I haven’t wanted to take anyone else’s place in the process.”
He added, however, “so it doesn’t look like I’m moving to the front of the line,” he expects to be tested “relatively soon.”
Biden said that the Secret Service stationed around his home and anyone who comes into his home, including staff, are tested. He also noted his daughter, who worked in Florida, was tested twice for the coronavirus.
ROME — Italy has added another 23 victims and 142 new infections to its official coronavirus toll as evidence builds that the virus might have been circulating in northern Italy as early as November.
The health ministry said Tuesday the official COVID-19 toll stood at 34,767 while confirmed infections stood at 240,578.
Earlier this month, the National Health Institute said a study of sewage systems found traces of the virus in Milan and Turin as early as Dec. 18, two months before Italy’s first official case was recorded.
The Eco di Bergamo newspaper reported Tuesday that documentation from the Bergamo public heath authorities, turned over to a regional councilor as part of an investigation, indicates that starting in November, the small hospital in Alzano Lombardo had recorded 18 cases of pneumonia “from an unspecified agent.”
By the time the hospital recorded its first positive test on Feb. 23, the number of “unspecified” pneumonia cases had risen to 110.
While such cases of unspecified pneumonia are not unusual, the high numbers in the final two months of 2019 point to a 30% increase over the previous year, the newspaper said.
Bergamo province, which includes Alzano, would go on to become the hardest-hit province in the onetime European epicenter, registering 571% excess deaths in March compared to the previous five-year average.
WASHINGTON — The head of the Food and Drug Administration says vaccine developers will be expected to study COVID-19 shots in racial minorities, the elderly, pregnant women and those with other health conditions.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn outlined the guidelines for potential vaccines at a Senate hearing on reopening schools and workplaces.
Hahn says “while the FDA is committed to help expedite this work, we will not cut corners in our decision-making.”
The agency has come under criticism for granting emergency authorization to a malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump as a treatment for coronavirus. The agency revoked that designation earlier this month after studies found the drug was ineffective against the virus.
The U.S. is set to begin a 30,000-person trial of a government-created shot starting next month. Under the Trump administration’s program dubbed “Operation Warp Speed,” health officials aim to have 300 million doses on hand by January.
About 15 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are in various stages of testing worldwide. There is no guarantee that any will prove effective.
WASHINGTON — A leading Republican senator says President Donald Trump should start wearing a mask at least some of the time because politics is getting in the way of protecting the American people from COVID-19.
“The stakes are too high for the political debate about pro-Trump, anti-Trump masks to continue,” says Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
Alexander is chairing a hearing of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee that’s focused on ways to safely reopen schools and workplaces.
Alexander had to self-quarantine after he was exposed to a staff member who tested positive. But the senator says he was protected because the staffer was wearing a mask.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece says it will follow European Union guidelines for countries placed on a non-essential travel list with access to Greek airports, starting Wednesday.
Stelios Petsas, the government spokesman, said the list of non-EU countries to be reviewed every 15 days was: Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Japan, Canada, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, South Korea, Rwanda, Serbia, Uruguay, Thailand and Tunisia.
Access from China was still being finalized, he said.
European countries granted access also include Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
The announcement coincided with the resumption of international flights to regional Greek airports that include many popular island holiday destinations.
Travelers from outside the EU but on the access list will have to carry proof of residence and will also be subject to random tests for COVID-19.
Direct flights from Sweden and the United Kingdom have been banned through July 15.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Thousands of Walt Disney World workers started heading back to work this week ahead of the July 11 reopening of the Magic Kingdom park, followed by the resort’s three other parks.
The resort’s four parks have been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some workers said they were impressed with the safety protocols they found at work. They were kept physically distant from one another, had their temperature checked at the entrance and spent much of the day going over hygiene protocols to stop the spread of the virus.
They also were given three face masks, a thermometer and a plastic face shield. Workers have spent their first days back sanitizing handrails and consoles, as well as going over the changes, such as break rooms that can only accommodate four people who keep a distance from one another.
Scott Dudas, who works in the Hollywood Studios park, said he was reassured by the face shields which can be used when a worker needs to get in close contact with guests, such as making sure children are the proper height for rides.
“Kids, if they cough, sometimes they don’t cover their mouth,” Dudas said in a videotaped discussion with other Unite Here! Local 362 members on the union’s Facebook page. “That second level of protection is perfect.”
Krysta White, who works in the Animal Kingdom park, said she felt safer at Disney World than at the grocery store because of all the protocols that had been implemented.
“I’m still nervous, but I feel they’ve done everything to make it as safe as possible,” White said.
PARIS — The European Union announced it will reopen its borders to travelers from 14 countries, and possibly China soon, but most Americans have been refused entry for at least another two weeks due to soaring coronavirus infections in the U.S.
Travelers from other countries like Russia, Brazil and India will also miss out.
For tourist sites and stores in Paris that are already feeling the pinch of losing clients from around the world, the EU’s decision not to readmit most American travelers is another blow.
“Americans were 50% of my clientele,” said Paola Pellizzari, who owns a mask and jewelry shop on the Saint-Louis island and heads its business association. “We can’t substitute that clientele with another.”
He says when returned after lockdown, five businesses had closed.
The continued absence of Americans also hurts the Louvre. The world’s most-visited museum plans its reopening on July 6. Americans used to be the largest single group of visitors.
LAGOS, Nigeria — A fifth state governor in Nigeria has tested positive for COVID-19.
Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu from Ondo state in Nigeria’s southwest tweeted his test results Tuesday.
“All is well. I’m asymptomatic and have been self-isolating. Work continues,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.
Five of Nigeria’s 36 state governors now have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Nigeria has recorded 25,133 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 573 deaths. As the number of cases rise rapidly, authorities are warning that the country’s health facilities are being overwhelmed with bed spaces in short supply in parts of the country including Lagos, the commercial capital.
TOKYO — Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced a new set of criteria to monitor coronavirus infections.
The revised guideline comes as Tokyo’s daily new cases have risen to around 50, their highest levels since early May.
“I believe our task now is to balance measures against the further spread of the infections and social and economic activities,” Koike said. “Instead of relying on specific numbers to switch on and off (caution levels), we will look at the whole picture and make a comprehensive decision,”
Koike and doctors on a panel of experts say their evaluation will be based on seven factors, including the number of new cases, details of untraceable cases, number of emergency calls and consultations, capacity at emergency hospitals, ratio of patients per test takers and the state of medical systems.
Koike says Tokyo set three caution scales for hospitals, requiring them to secure up to 4,000 beds at level three. She says she designated Tokyo hospitals to be on “level two” preparedness on Monday, asking to secure up to 3,000 beds in case the current rise in infections worsens.
Tokyo reported 54 new cases Tuesday, exceeding an earlier threshold of 50 for a fifth day in a row for a confirmed total of 6,225. Officials say half of the cases are linked to group testing among employees in nightclubs in downtown Tokyo.
Tokyo accounts to about one-third of the Japanese national total of 18,593 confirmed cases and 972 deaths.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Los Angeles will close beaches and ban fireworks displays over the holiday weekend.
California officials are warning further restrictions may be necessary to curb a troubling spike in coronavirus cases in much of the state.
Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’s prepared to impose targeted shutdowns of counties or businesses. Newsom’s remarks came a day after he mandated bars close in seven counties.
Newsom says the state will step up enforcement of its mask order. At the same time, new guidance allows some nursing home visitation to resume. The state is considering releasing more prisoners early amid prison outbreaks.
TORONTO — The mayor of Canada’s largest city is asking the Toronto city council to make masks mandatory in public indoor spaces.
Mayor John Tory says he’s heard from citizens and they don’t want to see what’s happening in the United States happen in Toronto. Tory believes most councilors will support it. The bylaw will take effect July 7, if passed.
Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa says there is growing evidence that shows non-medical masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. She says many cities in the U.S. are seeing a resurgence in cases since reopening.
ISLAMABAD — The U.S. peace envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will not be going to the Afghan capital, Kabul, while in the region on his latest peace mission because of the dangers presented by the coronavirus and instead will video conference with Afghan leaders, the U.S. State Department said.
Afghanistan’s dilapidated health system is grappling with the pandemic, with the number of infections thought to far outnumber the official tally of over 31,000 cases, including 733 deaths.
Khalilzad, who was in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, on Tuesday, will be traveling to Pakistan later in the day or early Wednesday before meeting with Taliban officials in Qatar, where they have a political office.
The coronavirus infection rate in Pakistan has been climbing steadily, with 209,336 cases recorded as of Tuesday and more than 4,300 deaths.
MADRID — Spanish official statistics show that the country’s gross domestic product contracted 5.2% during the first three months of the year compared to the previous quarter, the biggest drop in at least half a century.
The National Institute of Statistics, or INE, said Tuesday that the economic freeze imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus impacted the economy like never before since quarterly records began to be kept in 1970. From January to March 2009, following a global financial meltdown, the country’s GDP shrank by 2.6%.
If the figures for the second quarter are also negative compared to the first — and nobody doubts that since the impact of a strict lockdown was felt especially in April and May, and recovery of economic activity since then has been slow — the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy will officially enter in recession.
That’s a sharp contrast from GDP growth averaging 0.4% in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2019. Year on year, the drop on the first quarter of 2020 was of 4.1% compared to the same period in 2019.
Spain has recorded some 249,000 coronavirus infections confirmed by lab tests and at least 28,300 deaths.