Record High Cases Reported In Texas And Florida
- Texas and Florida report their highest daily totals of new coronavirus infections.
- CDC forecasts suggest up to 140,000 COVID-19 related deaths by July 4th.
- Stocks on Wall Street rose Friday, rebounding from their steepest drop in months.
- 1.7 million Americans are waiting for their passports after the State Department shut down.
Records Daily Highs In Texas And Florida
Texas and Florida have reported their highest daily totals of new coronavirus infections. The nation as a whole continues to record more than 20,000 cases per day. Texas, which was one of the first states to make moves to reopen its economy, identified more than 2,000 new cases on both Wednesday and Thursday. Mayor Eric Johnson of Dallas attributed the increased cases to an expansion of testing.
Harris County, which includes Houston, created a new color-coded system this week to gauge the virus and said that the current threat level was orange, the second-most severe, meaning that there was a “significant and uncontrolled” level of Covid-19. Florida has recorded more than 1,000 new cases every day this week. It recorded the state’s highest daily total on Friday when the state reported another 1,902 cases.
Even amid a significant rise in cases, Florida continues to push forward with its reopening plans. The Republican National Committee announced that President Trump would deliver his Aug. 27th convention speech in Jacksonville, Fla., in an arena that holds 15,000 people.
Last week, California, hit a new daily high when it recorded 3,593 new cases. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said that in some parts of the country the rising number of new cases reflected more testing, but that in other areas, the increasing number of hospitalizations suggested a disturbing uptick in new infections.
CDC Forecasts 140,000 Deaths By Fourth Of July
Forecasts from the CDC suggest that the United States will likely see between 124,000 to 140,000 COVID-19 related deaths by the Fourth of July. The CDC said that its forecasts suggest that more virus-related deaths were likely over the next four weeks in Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, North Carolina, Utah and Vermont.
The agency also released new guidance about the risks of holding events. It labeled any large gathering which draws attendees from outside the area as high risk. The guidance comes as people around the country are attending outdoor protests against police brutality,
A mandatory mask-wearing policy has been dropped In Orange County, California, a decision that comes days after the county’s top health official resigned because of threats and protests at her home. The mayor of nearby Long Beach called the shift “totally irresponsible.”
Wall Street Rebounds From A Steep Plunge
Stocks on Wall Street rose Friday, rebounding from their steepest drop in months. The S&P 500 closed more than 1 percent higher, after earlier having climbed more than 3 percent. On Thursday, the index plunged by about 6 percent, its sharpest drop since mid-March.
Financial markets experienced a shift in sentiment this week, as investors have seemed to acknowledge the risks to the economy from pandemic-related shutdowns earlier this year and the prospect of a second wave as governments lift restrictions on activity, Investor confidence was rattled on Thursday after Fed chair Jerome Powell warned this week that the depth of the downturn and pace of the recovery remained extraordinarily uncertain. The recovery was swift off a low market even as 1.5 million more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week.
1.7 million Americans Await Passports
1.7 million Americans are waiting for their passports after the State Department shut down most of its services to protect employees from contracting the coronavirus.
Last week, the State Department reopened 11 passport agencies aiming to process about 200,000 applications each week before addressing newer applications. Officials predict it will still take up to eight weeks to cut through the backlog dating back to February.
Passport services in American embassies and consulates abroad were also suspended for all but urgent cases and plan to reopen only after health conditions in each host country have been deemed safe for American diplomats to return to work.
New York Churches Offer Virus Testing
24 New York City churches serving communities of color have been transformed into clinics offering free coronavirus testing. The initiative aims to expand testing among black and Hispanic residents, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Nearly 20,000 virus tests were administered in the initial round of screening. Black and Latino New Yorkers have been infected with COVID-19 at twice the rate of white residents, a result of economic and health disparities, denser housing, and a higher risk of exposure on the job.