The Latest: Florida adds nearly 10,000 new coronavirus cases
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida added 9,785 new confirmed cases Wednesday, bringing the total since March 1 to nearly 380,000.
Florida recorded more than 100 new coronavirus deaths for the seventh time in two weeks, pushing its death toll from the pandemic to nearly 5,500.
The state health department reported 138 more deaths, bringing Florida’s weekly average to 118 a day, equal with Texas for the worst current seven-day average in the nation. A month ago, Florida was averaging 33 deaths a day.
The percentage of positive tests has remained at about 18% the last two weeks, quadruple about 4% in June.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Brazil president still tests positive for virus
— Trump says virus in US will get worse before it gets better
— Crisis hits Lebanon’s hospitals, among the best in Mideast
— Silent spread of virus keeps scientists grasping for clues
— California’s confirmed coronavirus cases have topped 409,000, surpassing New York for most in the nation. However, California has nearly 8,000 deaths compared to New York’s 32,000.
— With the coronavirus rebounding in parts of Spain, it appears Catalonia and other regions have not adequately prepared to trace new infections in what was supposed to be an early detection system to prevent a new cascade of cases.
— More than one in five people in Delhi have been infected with the coronavirus, according to a study, indicating that most cases in the Indian capital region have gone undetected.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania county filed suit Wednesday to compel Gov. Tom Wolf to release nearly $13 million in federal coronavirus relief funding withheld after county leaders defied his shutdown orders.
Wolf withheld $12.8 million in funding from Lebanon County, where local Republican leaders voted in mid-May to lift pandemic restrictions in defiance of the Democratic governor. Wolf’s decision left Lebanon as the only Pennsylvania county to have been cut off from $625 million federal coronavirus relief money distributed by the state.
The lawsuit, filed in Commonwealth Court, cast the Board of Commissioners’ vote as merely symbolic. The suit said Wolf had no legal right to withhold funding appropriated by the Legislature, accusing him of a “gross abuse of power” and acting like a “de facto King.”
Wolf addressed his decision to withhold the money at a news conference last week, saying Lebanon County had to pay a price for its recalcitrance.
MADRID — Authorities in northern Spain are tightening restrictions in a neighborhood in the city of Pamplona due to an outbreak of the coronavirus among young people.
Spain reported 731 confirmed new cases over the last 24 hours on Wednesday, up from 529 the day before.
The regional government of Navarra announced it will reintroduce limitations on occupancy for restaurants, shops and places of worship to 50% for the neighborhood of Mendillorri in Pamplona.
The neighborhood has 122 virus cases, says regional health chief Santos Induráin. This month, Pamplona cancelled its famous running-of-the bulls festivities to try to limit contagion.
Induráin says authorities are ordering tests for more than 2,000 youths, saying people age 17 to 28 make up for 93% of the infections.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s confirmed coronavirus cases have topped 409,000, surpassing New York for most in the nation.
Johns Hopkins University data shows California has about 1,200 more cases than New York.
However, New York’s 32,520 confirmed deaths are four times California’s tally of nearly 8,000 deaths.
California is by far the most populous U.S. state, at nearly 40 million people, while New York has about 19.5 million.
Scientists say reported coronavirus cases vastly underestimate the true number of infections because of the small number of tests.
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study says COVID-19 cases were more than 10 times higher than reported in most U.S. regions from late March to early May. It’s based on COVID-19 antibody tests performed on routine blood samples in 16,000 people in 10 U.S. regions that showed many with the virus antibody.
(The item has been corrected to show New York state has 32,520 confirmed deaths, according to a tally be Johns Hopkins University.)
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities are extending coronavirus restrictions until Aug. 31, after reports of more than 800 new infections a day.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal says keeping restrictions in place will allow the government to control the level of contagion. Ukraine imposed a tight lockdown in March, when it only had a handful of cases. Now the caseload exceeds 60,000.
Several restrictions have been significantly eased in mid-May, and regional governments could decide which restrictions to keep. Wearing a mask in public places and keeping 1.5 meters of social distance remains a requirement for all regions.
Travelers from other countries must self-quarantine for two weeks or take a virus test.
BRASILIA, Brazil — Brazil’s government says President Jair Bolsonaro is still testing positive for the coronavirus following his July 7 announcement.
The positive test Tuesday came after a follow-up check on July 15. The government says he remains in good health.
The World Health Organization says the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately two weeks.
The government say Bolsonaro will keep holding videoconferences instead of face-to-face meetings. He had to cancel a trip to northeastern Brazil. At least four members of Bolsonaro’s Cabinet have been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Bolsonaro repeatedly dismissed the disease as a “little flu” and often mingled in crowds, sometimes without wearing a mask. He is treating his COVID-19 with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, although it has not been proven effective against the virus and can be dangerous for some people.
Brazil’s government says the country has recorded more than 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 81,000 deaths. That’s second only to the United States in both categories, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
MADRID — Frequent snacking and a lack of exercise during over two months of mandatory home confinement against the spread of the coronavirus has taken a toll on Spaniards’ waistline.
A survey by Spain’s Obesity Society, or SEEDO, says 44% of Spaniards gained weight during the spring mandatory order to stay at home. Of those, 73% added between 1 to 3 kilograms (2.2 to 6.6 pounds).
The study suggests anxiety and boredom led to more alcohol consumption and frequent trips to the pantry in search for sugar-heavy snacks. The difficulty of exercising while at home contributed to the weight gain.
More than half of the respondents say they exercised less than before mid-March, when Spain enacted a strict lockdown to fight the pandemic. One third of the 1,000 surveyed by telephone say they spent an average of 5 hours per day watching television.
Currently, the country is dealing with 224 smaller outbreaks. Spain has reported more than 28,400 deaths from the virus.
BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania has confirmed more than 1,000 new daily cases of the coronavirus for the first time.
The 1,030 new confirmed cases and 27 deaths were reported by the government. That raises the totals to 40,163 confirmed cases and 2,101 deaths.
The village of Cartojani, outside of the capital of Bucharest, will be quarantined for two weeks starting Wednesday after 32 people were confirmed infected with the coronavirus. They reportedly took part in a private event on the coast of the Black Sea.
According to new regulations, quarantines can be imposed on locations were the number of confirmed cases is above 3 per 1,000 residents and no other measures are deemed capable of containing the spread of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced Tuesday that 954 localities had reported at least one coronavirus case in the past two weeks, up from around 350 locations in early June.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnia has reported the highest number of new infections with the coronavirus since the start of the outbreak.
Health authorities say 324 people have tested positive on the virus and five have died in the past 24 hours.
The crisis team dealing with the outbreak urged citizens to remain vigilant and respect anti-virus rules of social distancing and wearing of masks in public spaces.
Bosnia and the rest of the Balkans have seen a rise of infections with the coronavirus since countries eased strict lockdown rules imposed at the start of the outbreak.
There’s been about 9,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 262 deaths in Bosnia.
JOHANNESBURG — The World Health Organization and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched an effort to explore the role of traditional medicine in the coronavirus pandemic.
The new advisory panel will support countries in clinical trials, other research and development of traditional therapies as the pandemic now spreads rapidly in parts of Africa.
Confirmed cases on the continent have nearly reached 750,000, more than half in South Africa.
A WHO statement says traditional medicine “has many benefits” and the continent has a long history of its use. WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti says the research “must be grounded in science.”
Several countries showed interest after Madagascar’s president promoted a local herbal concoction as part of the island nation’s pandemic response.
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran says 138 health care professionals have died so far while battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The semiofficial ISNA news agency on Wednesday quoted Hossein Kermanpour, spokesman for the regulatory body for Iranian health care professionals, saying the death toll includes 90 doctors and 28 nurses.
Iran announced this week that 12,000 health care workers have been infected across the country. The country reached its single-day highest death toll of 229 on Tuesday.
Iran is grappling with the deadliest outbreak in the Middle East. It has so far reported more than 278,000 confirmed cases and 14,634 deaths.
STOCKHOLM — The Nobel Foundation, which manages the prestigious Nobel Prizes, says it has canceled the traditional December banquet at the Stockholm City Hall due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lars Heikensten, CEO of the Nobel Foundation, said it is not possible to gather up to 1,300 banquet guests and let them sit next to each other amid the current COVID-19 restrictions. He said the pandemic also makes it uncertain whether prize winners can travel to Sweden.
The Nobel Prizes are announced in October but the festivities in December will be severely limited due to the pandemic. The foundation says it’s not completely clear yet how and in what form the award ceremonies will take place.
The Nobel Peace Prize is announced in Oslo, Norway, while the others are awarded in Stockholm.
PRAGUE — The day-to-day increase of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic has surpassed 200 for the first time in almost a month.
The Health Ministry says the number of those infected reached 212 on Tuesday, the highest day increase since June 28.
The Czech Republic has confirmed 14,324 cases and 360 deaths.
Of the 5,046 active cases, the highest number since the outbreak of the pandemic, 148 are hospitalized with 20 in intensive care.
BANGKOK — Faced with labor shortage in construction and agriculture, Thailand has agreed to let in about 120,000 migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos in the next phase of easing coronavirus restrictions.
A spokesman for the government’s COVID-19 center says details such as quarantine measures still have to be worked out. Further loosening of restrictions, which also includes opening the borders to foreigners visiting for medical and business purposes, is expected Aug. 1.
Thailand’s government will extend until the end of August a state of emergency imposed in March to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, though critics want it abolished because they charge it is used to suppress political dissent.
An anti-government demonstration Saturday in the capital Bangkok drew more than 2,000 people.
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa has well over half of the confirmed coronavirus cases on the African continent as the country is now a global hot spot.
New Health Ministry data show 381,798 cases and 5,368 deaths.
The country’s current epicenter is Gauteng province, home to Johannesburg and one-quarter of the population. It has more than one-third of South Africa’s cases.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has pleaded with people against pandemic fatigue and urged them not to abandon masks.
HONG KONG — Hong Kong has made it mandatory to wear masks on public transportation and indoor areas and passenger terminals.
The measures will last until Aug. 5 as the city tries to break the transmission of local infections.
Hong Kong has recorded 2,019 infections and 14 deaths. On Tuesday, it reported 58 cases, 25 from an unknown source.
The city’s Health Minister Sophia Chan is appealing to people to stay at home as much as possible, saying Hong Kong is at a high risk of a community outbreak.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico passed the 40,000-death mark Tuesday and reported near-record levels of newly confirmed coronavirus cases.
The Health Department reported that COVID-19 deaths rose by 915 to reach 40,400, the fourth highest total behind the United Kingdom at 45,507.
Mexico’s number of confirmed cases rose by 6,859 to 356,386, and the country now rivals Peru for the sixth-highest number of cases. But Mexico does so little testing that its number is considered vastly undercounted.
By Tuesday, Mexico had conducted just over 820,000 tests, or about one test for every 160 inhabitants. In recent weeks, 47% of all tests have come back positive, suggesting Mexico is mainly testing only those with considerable symptoms.
Health authorities indicated the country only has about 170,000 tests left, but left open the possibility of acquiring more.