TTR News Center

Coronavirus updates: Virus not showing signs of seasonal pattern, WHO says

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Myriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 732,000 people worldwide.

Over 19.9 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 national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 5 million diagnosed cases and at least 163,100 deaths.

Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.

1:20 p.m.: Philadelphia school sports suspended until 2021

The Philadelphia Public League is suspending all interscholastic sport competitions until 2021 following a recommendation from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, ABC Philadelphia station WPVI reported.

Wolf said Thursday, “We ought to do everything we can to defeat that virus … the guidance from us, recommendation, is that we don’t do any sports until January first.”

The Philadelphia Public League said, according to WPVI, “If guidelines released by the Governor’s office change, or are updated in a way that would allow programming to resume, we reserve the right to revisit our decision and provide further guidance on a safe return to play.”

12:40 p.m.: COVID-19 is not demonstrating a seasonal pattern, WHO says

COVID-19 “has demonstrated no seasonal pattern” so far, World Health Organization (WHO) emergencies chief Dr. Mike Ryan said Monday.

“What it has clearly demonstrated is: you take the pressure off the virus, the virus bounces back,” Ryan warned.

“You can call that a second wave, you can call that a second spike, you can call it a flare-up, you can call it anything you like,” he said. “Take the pressure off the virus, the virus will bounce back. And that’s what we would say to countries in Europe: keep the pressure on the virus.”

Many countries in Europe — like France, Germany, Spain and Italy — had major outbreaks but when they took action they were able to suppress it, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“We all want to see schools safely reopened but we also need to ensure that students, staff and faculty are safe. The foundation for this is adequate control of transmission at the community,” Tedros said. “My message is crystal clear: suppress, suppress, suppress the virus. If we suppress the virus effectively, we can safely open up societies.”

12:15 p.m.: DC adds 5 new states to its quarantine list

Washington, D.C. has added Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Minnesota to the district’s quarantine list.

Those traveling to D.C. from these high-risk states must quarantine for two weeks: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

States are added to the list if their seven-day moving average of daily cases is 10 or more per 100,000 people.

Traveling to and from D.C.’s neighboring states, Maryland and Virginia, will not apply to the list.

11 a.m.: 20% of Florida’s ICU beds available

In hard-hit Florida, 20.79% of the state’s ICU beds were available as of Monday morning, the state’s Agency for Healthcare Administration reported.

Thirty-eight hospitals had no available ICU beds Monday while 22 hospitals in the state had just one available bed, the agency said.

These numbers are expected to fluctuate throughout the day as hospitals and medical centers provide updates.

Florida has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. behind California.

Florida has over 536,900 diagnosed cases and at least 8,406 fatalities, according to the state’s Department of Health

9:40 a.m.: TSA screens over 800K people for 1st time since March

The Transportation Security Administration screened 831,789 people on Sunday, marking the first time over 800,000 people traveled in one day since March 17.

This is still down about 70% compared to the same day last year when the TSA screened 2,647,897 travelers.

Major U.S. airlines don’t expect recovery to be linear as infection rates and state quarantine rules change over time in different parts of the country.

9:10 a.m.: Cases rising in Lebanon after explosion

Coronavirus cases are rising in Lebanon after the explosion in Beirut last week that killed at least 160 people.

Lebanon reported 294 new cases on Sunday, according to Health Ministry data. Seven days earlier, the daily number of new cases was 155, according to the data.

Lebanon now has a total of 6,517 diagnosed cases and at least 76 COVID-19 fatalities.

8:35 a.m.: Clorox says demand for its wipes is up 500%

Clorox says demand for its wipes is up 500% during the pandemic.

“We are making wipes in record numbers and shipping them to stores in record numbers,” Clorox CEO Linda Rendle told ABC News’ Good Morning America on Monday.

Since January, Clorox has made 100 million more disinfecting products than before — a 50% increase, Rendle said.

Clorox is now making nearly one million packages of disinfectant wipes every day, Rendle said.

7:25 a.m.: UK has ‘moral duty’ to fully reopen schools next month, PM says

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated Monday that he’s “very keen” for all schools to fully reopen in England next month.

“It’s not right that kids should spend more time out of school,” Johnson told reporters while visiting a school in East London. “It’s much, much better for their health and mental wellbeing, obviously their educational prospects, if everybody comes back to school full-time in September.”

“It’s our moral duty as a country to make sure that happens,” he added.

Johnson said he’s been “impressed” by the work administrators and teachers have done to make sure schools are safe.

Last month, the U.K. government outlined a plan for the “mandatory” return to classrooms across England in September, with students being restricted to “class or year sized bubbles” and teachers being told to “address gaps in knowledge.”

Schools across the United Kingdom shuttered in mid-March at the start of the pandemic. Some pupils returned to classrooms in England in June.

Meanwhile, Scotland is set to fully reopen its schools on Tuesday.

6:49 a.m.: India’s former president tests positive for COVID-19

India’s former president, Pranab Mukherjee, has tested positive for COVID-19.

“On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive for Covid-19 today,” Mukherjee, who served as president of India from 2012 to 2017, announced via Twitter on Monday. “I request the people who came in contact with me in the last week, to please self isolate and get tested for Covid-19.”

With more than 2.2 million diagnosed cases of COVID-19, India has the third-highest tally in the world, behind the United States and Brazil.

5:36 a.m.: Coronavirus testing site opening along U.S.-Mexico border

A coronavirus testing site will open soon near the U.S.-Mexico border in Southern California’s San Diego County, according to a report by San Diego ABC affiliate KGTV.

The appointment-free, walk-up testing site will be located at the San Ysidro Port of Entry’s PedWest crossing, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian international border crossings. The site, among more than two dozen others across San Diego County, will be the closest one to the border with Mexico so far for the region.

The United States and Mexico are two of the worst-affected nations in the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hispanic community makes up just 34% of San Diego’s population and yet, as of Sunday, they accounted for 62% of the city’s COVID-19 cases, according to KGTV. That figure will likely rise after the new testing site opens up within the next couple weeks, since the area is dominated by Spanish speakers.

However, Chicano Federation Chief Strategy Officer Roberto Alcantar said many in the Latino community are still afraid of getting tested.

“Our community is nervous about losing their jobs, not being able to go to work, the real economic impact that comes from being positive and feeling that that might hinder them in a way,” Alcantar told KGTV.

4:21 a.m.: Australia sees record rise in virus-related deaths

An additional 19 coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in the Australian state of Victoria on Sunday — the highest single-day increase in fatalities that the country has seen since the start of the pandemic.

“This news is devastating no matter what age COVID affects people, and we just want to reaffirm again our support through every channel we can provide it,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services also reported 322 new cases of COVID-19 — the lowest daily count recorded in the state since July 29.

“We are seeing some stability. That’s a good thing. But that’s not enough,” Victoria’s state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. “And that’s the product of masks and Stage 3. That’s what the experts tell us. The next stage, though, is all about these restrictions that we’ve had to painfully impose.”

Andrews declared a state of disaster in Victoria on Aug. 2, giving authorities additional powers to ensure people are complying with public health directions. Victoria is home to Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, which has become a hotspot in the country’s novel coronavirus outbreak.

In total, Australia has reported more than 21,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 with at least 313 deaths.

3:45 a.m.: US records under 50,000 new cases for first time in six days

There were 46,395 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Sunday, bringing the nationwide total soaring past five million, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It’s the first time in six days that the nation has recorded under 50,000 new cases. An additional 516 coronavirus-related deaths were also reported.

Sunday’s caseload is well below the record set on July 16, when more than 77,000 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

A total of 5,044,864 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 162,938 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The 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 U.S. 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 the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July.

Many states have seen a rise in infections in recent weeks, with some — including Arizona, California and Florida — reporting daily records. However, new data published last week in an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests that the national surge in cases could be leveling off.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Downtown Chicago under lockdown in wake of looting, violent unrest

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Kathryn Kirsch/iStockBy KARMA ALLEN, ABC News

(CHICAGO) — At least 100 people were arrested in Chicago overnight as looting and violence overtook the streets, injuring multiple police officers, authorities said.

Thirteen officers were injured, including a sergeant who was attacked with a bottle, and at least two civilians were shot during the unrest after midnight Sunday, in the early hours of Monday morning, as hundreds overran the city’s upscale Magnificent Mile shopping district and surrounding areas with vandalism and violence, authorities said.

The suspects face several charges, including looting, battery against police and disorderly conduct, authorities said. Investigators are also searching for suspects who fired shots at police, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said on Monday.

“In one incident, officers were arresting a suspect who was seen carrying a cash register he had looted out of a store,” Brown said. “As officers were making the arrest, another vehicle passed by the officers and fired shots at the officers, as their vehicle turned the corner, resulting in an exchange in gunfire between officers and the suspects. A bullet was found lodged in the cage of the police vehicle.”

The officers were not wounded by gunfire.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she implemented a community protection program — a lockdown with massive police presence — that will be in place “for foreseeable days until we know our neighborhoods are safe.”

Lightfoot said the criminal activity had nothing to do with “legitimate” organized protests and described it as “an assault on our city.”

“These individuals engaged in what only could be described as brazen and extensive criminal looting and destruction. To be clear, this had nothing to do with legitimate, protected First Amendment expression,” Lightfoot said on Monday.

Investigators said the unrest was sparked Sunday afternoon by inaccurate reports online about an unarmed juvenile being shot by police in the Englewood area. The shooting victim was actually a 20-year-old man who allegedly opened fire on police while being chased, authorities said.

“Tempers flared, fueled by misinformation as the afternoon turned into evening. CPD became aware of several social media posts encouraging looting downtown,” Brown said. “Officers were dispatched to our downtown area once we got word of the social media posts. Four hundred officers were dispatched to our downtown.”

Much of the unrest happened along the Magnificent Mile, one of the city’s most-popular tourist attractions, where looters were seen stuffing vehicles with shopping bags full of stolen merchandise and store equipment.

ATM machine were compromised, cash registers were stolen and at least one bank was broken into, according to the Chicago Tribune.

City officials said residents should expect a heavy police presence downtown until further notice. Lightfoot said the city was still “working on the specifics” of a looming lockdown that could include closing some bridges and expressways.

“We are working on the specifics now,” Lightfoot told reporters Monday. “We are looking at the bridges. But we want to make sure obviously that the people who work and live downtown have easy access to the downtown area.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Southern California church holds indoor services in defiance of restraining order

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(NEW YORK) — A Southern California church that was sued and issued a restraining order over hosting indoor services defied state and local mandates when it opened its doors on Sunday.

Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Ventura County hosted three indoor services, marking its latest run-in with orders that the church’s pastor said are an attack on “religious liberty.”

The county, meanwhile, has referred to the church’s actions as a “callous disregard of public health orders during a global pandemic,” according to court records.

As alleged in a lawsuit filed by Ventura County, Godspeak has hosted several indoor services in recent weeks, despite a July 13 statewide order prohibiting several businesses and activities — including places of worship — from holding indoor operations in the county amid a rise in cases of COVID-19.

In its complaint, filed Wednesday, the county also alleged that the church “allowed and encouraged” its attendees to violate mandates to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing.

The suit stated that the church’s actions will cause “great and irreparable injury” to the public “by creating a significant risk of further community spread of COVID-19, including hospitalizations and deaths, which in turn is likely to result in continued and further restrictions on businesses and other operations and activities within Ventura County, detrimentally affecting the quality of life of the entire community.”

On Friday, a judge issued a two-week restraining order banning the church from holding indoor services.

Immediately following the hearing, the church’s pastor, Rob McCoy, said in an update posted to YouTube that they would be “violating the judge’s order” and opening Sunday.

“We want to worship. And we’re going to worship,” McCoy said in the video.

Sunday’s 9 a.m. service drew several hundred attendees, according to Los Angeles ABC station KABC-TV. There was also a mix of protesters — those against and those in support of the church reopening — who briefly clashed outside.

The local sheriff’s office didn’t plan to cite people attending the services, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Godspeak is allowed to host services outdoors, such as in a park — a notion McCoy has rejected as “impossible” due to the size of the congregation.

“Fifteen-hundred people — what park?” he said in Friday’s video.

He also said that the church has received threats, “so our people would be in danger” at the park.

In a second update, posted Saturday to the church’s YouTube page, McCoy called the measures “unprecedented” and “draconian.”

“This is a religious liberty issue,” said McCoy, a former City Council member who resigned in April, after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared churches a nonessential service.

Throughout the pandemic, churches have often been the source of outbreaks. McCoy said his church hasn’t had any cases of COVID-19 since it reopened on May 31.

On Friday, Ventura County reported 111 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the total number of cases the area has seen to 8,146. There were also seven new deaths, totaling 89.

A hearing in the county’s lawsuit is scheduled for Aug. 31.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Heat Advisory from the Plains to the Northeast, fire and heat in West

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(NEW YORK) — Another heat wave is developing across the eastern United States Monday all the way from Texas to Massachusetts.

There are 12 states from Oklahoma to Massachusetts under Heat Advisory and some areas will feel like its near 110 degrees.

For the Northeast, there could be another heat wave from Washington, D.C. to Boston but in order for this to be officially considered a heat wave, temperatures have to be 90 degrees or higher for three consecutive days or more.

Meanwhile in the West, more than 80 wildfires are burning from Texas to Washington state.

One of the bigger fires is the Pine Gulch Fire in western Colorado where it is 25,026 acres and only 7% contained.

It is not the best news for firefighters in the West Monday either as the forecast looks windy with gusts near 50 mph in some areas.

There are also numerous fire weather watches and Red Flag Warnings issued from Washington down to California and east to Wyoming with erratic winds from thunderstorms.

A heat wave is also developing in the Southwest with Heat Watches and Warnings posted for Phoenix where the city could see temperatures near record highs by the end of the week.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Helicopter crash kills wildlife researchers conducting aerial sheep survey

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georgeclerk/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Three wildlife researchers were killed in a helicopter crash in West Texas while they were conducting an aerial survey, officials said.

Wildlife biologist Dewey Stockbridge, fish and wildlife technician Brandon White and state wildlife veterinarian Dr. Bob Dittmar were researching desert bighorn sheep in Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County on Saturday when their helicopter crashed, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said in a statement.

The pilot, a private contractor, survived the incident and was rushed to an El Paso hospital, the agency said. His condition was unknown as of Sunday evening.

Carter Smith, the TPWD executive director, said in a statement the three researchers spent years documenting and studying the state’s wildlife.

“No words can begin to express the depth of sadness we feel for the loss of our colleagues in this tragic accident,” he said in a statement. “Wildlife conservation in Texas lost three of its finest as they so honorably and dutifully carried out their calling to help survey, monitor and protect the bighorns of their beloved west Texas mountains.”

Gov. Greg Abbott asked Texans to remember the researchers in their thoughts.

“Our hearts ache today for those who died in this tragic accident,” he said in a statement.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Texas Game Wardens are investigating the crash.

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