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Record number of new COVID-19 cases worldwide as U.S. surge dampens Fourth of July celebrations

The latest:

  • P.E.I. confirms three new cases of COVID-19 after being in the clear since late April.
  • England’s pubs, restaurants and hair salons reopen as lockdown eases further.
  • U.K. scraps quarantine for arrivals from about 60 countries, excluding Canada, U.S.
  • Thousands expected on P.E.I. this weekend as Atlantic bubble opens.
  • India records its highest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases.
  • Australian authorities lock down 9 public housing towers in Melbourne over outbreak.

Florida reported a record number of coronavirus cases on Saturday, the latest sign that the virus is surging in many parts of the United States, casting a pall over Fourth of July celebrations.

Officials and health authorities warned people to take precautions or simply stay home on Independence Day, as confirmed cases are climbing in 40 states. The U.S. set another daily record Friday with 52,300 newly reported infections, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University that is widely thought to be an undercount.

The U.S. has more than 2.8 million confirmed cases — about a quarter of worldwide infections, according to the tally, which is widely thought to understate the true figure, partially because of asymptomatic cases and limited testing.

Florida reported 11,445 confirmed infections on Saturday, bringing the statewide total to more than 190,000.

A restaurant worker puts out U.S. flags in Miami Beach, Fla., on Saturday. (Wilfredo Lee/The Associated Press)

Alabama this week also set a record for infections reported in a day, with more than 1,700 new confirmed cases recorded Thursday, and state health officials worried that the holiday weekend could lead to the type of spike that followed Memorial Day weekend.

“I’m really, really worried about the Fourth of July,” said Dr. Don Williamson, a former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association. “I think that will likely determine the trend for Alabama for the rest of the summer.”

The sobering updates came as local officials and health experts across the country tried to minimize opportunities for the virus to continue spreading on a holiday weekend typically spent swimming, eating at backyard gatherings or crowding elbow-to-elbow to view parades and fireworks shows.

Many communities cancelled those events and cautioned people against gathering on their own.

In Florida, bars statewide are shut down, and some regional attractions, such as Zoo Miami and Jungle Island, have closed. Officials in South Florida — including in Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys — closed beaches through the weekend.

WATCH | Independence Day celebrations a concern in U.S. where cases on the rise:

As new daily cases in the U.S. hit a record, concerns abound that July 4th celebrations will lead to an explosion of COVID-19 cases as people scoff at masks and physical distancing. 2:01

Other beaches in the state remained open. At St. Pete Beach on the Gulf of Mexico, parking spaces were scarce Saturday afternoon and hundreds of people clustered in groups under umbrellas and in cabanas on the sand.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies patrolled on ATVs, telling folks they should stay with their own families or groups — and away from others.

Keisha Pereira came to the beach from Osceola County — about 160 kilometres inland — with her daughter and two other children and said the group planned to stay away from others. She brought along hand sanitizer and masks in case they go anywhere other than the beach.

Fourth of July parade participants are seen in Luther, Okla., on Saturday. (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP)

“We’re going to stay with each other,” she said. “I feel pretty safe outside.”

In several of California’s tourism-focused counties, economic woes prompted campaigns to convince state residents to travel within California’s borders. But public health experts and mayors of popular beach towns Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay have pleaded with people to stay home for the holiday.

Crista Luedtke said demand has been “bonkers” since reopening the 14-room Boon Hotel and Spa that she owns in the Sonoma County town of Guerneville. Guests must stay at least two nights and are assigned chaise lounges near the pool.

People gather at Coney Island in New York City on Saturday. (John Minchillo/The Associated Press)

“Tourism is not dangerous,” Luedtke said. “I think people not following the rules is dangerous.”

The holiday weekend coincides with a big step back this week for California’s efforts to reopen the state’s economy. Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a three-week closure of bars and many indoor establishments in counties that are home to about three-quarters of the state’s population.

Local efforts to discourage holiday gatherings are in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s weekend agenda, including a fireworks display Friday night at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and Saturday’s “Salute for America” celebration, set to include a presidential speech on the White House South Lawn and an enormous fireworks display that could pack people into downtown Washington in the evening.

What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada

P.E.I. on Saturday reported three new cases after being free of COVID-19 since April 28. The three people are all Islanders and are essential workers. None had been outside the country. One of the two younger patients works at Whisperwood Villa in Charlottetown

The Atlantic bubble started Friday, allowing travellers from within the four provinces to cross borders without having to self-isolate for 14 days. Each province has its own set of rules for visitors.

Premier Dennis King said the three cases in P.E.I. are not connected to the Atlantic bubble, but officials in the province are “prepared to make a decision on pulling back early next week if that’s what the [public health and epidemiology] information points to.”

Health officials wearing personal protective equipment enter Whisperwood Villa in Charlottetown on Saturday. (Ken Linton/CBC)

Ontario, with the second-highest provincial tally of 35,656 confirmed cases, reported an additional 121 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the lowest daily case count in more than a week.

Quebec, which has had the highest number of cases at 55,784, reported 102 new cases on Saturday.

As of 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 105,317 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 68,990 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,720. 

Here’s what’s happening around the world

The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Saturday, with the total rising by 212,326 in 24 hours.

The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil and India, according to a daily report. The previous WHO record for new cases was 189,077 on June 28. Deaths remained steady at about 5,000 a day.

More than 11 million people around the world are known to have been infected since the pandemic began, according to the Johns Hopkins data. With shortages of testing materials, the real number of cases is unknown. More than 525,000 people have died.

(CBC)

In Asia-Pacific, India also reported its highest single-day spike, with 22,771 new confirmed cases for a total of more than 648,000, including 18,655 deaths.

Australia’s Victoria state locked down nine public housing towers and three more Melbourne suburbs after 108 new cases. Premier Daniel Andrews said 3,000 people in the towers will go into “hard lockdown,” meaning “there will be no one allowed in … and no one allowed out.”

A person reacts as a health worker conducts a COVID-19 test in Gauhati, India, on Saturday. (Anupam Nath/The Associated Press)

In Europe, authorities in northeast Spain ordered the lockdown of El Segria county around the city of Lleida, home to over 200,000 people, after health officials recorded a jump in 60 cases in 24 hours. The outbreaks are linked to agricultural workers in the rural area.

While in England, pubs and movie theatres reopened Saturday as part of Britain’s biggest step toward post-outbreak normal.

A worker pours a beer on the first day of bars reopening in London on Saturday. (Alberto Pezzali/The Associated Press)

In the Americas, France said it is sending medics to its South American territory of French Guiana, where infections have surged as the virus swept neighbouring Brazil.

In Brazil — which has the second most coronavirus infections and deaths in the world — churches opened in hard-hit Rio de Janeiro for the first time in almost 100 days. Hand sanitizer was distributed and temperatures checked as masses operated at 30 per cent capacity to ensure physical distancing.

A Catholic priest has their temperature taken before entering a church in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. (Leo Correa/The Associated Press)

In Africa, Ghana’s deputy trade and industry minister Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah has resigned for violating self-isolation measures after testing positive, the president said.

In South Africa, a growing hot spot, confirmed cases have climbed to more than 177,000, with a record 9,063 reported in the most recent 24-hour period.

Published at Sat, 04 Jul 2020 15:50:15 +0000

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