CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada has 445 more COVID-19 cases, making Saturday the second straight day the state has reported a new 24-hour high since the start of the pandemic.

The state had reported 410 new cases Friday, surpassing the previous single-day jump of 379 four days earlier.

The state Department of Health and Human Services says there have been 12,931 cases and 486 deaths, including eight reported Saturday. Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County account for fourth-fifths of the cases and deaths.

The number of new cases has climbed as Nevada has expanded testing and reopened casinos, restaurants and other businesses. Gov. Steve Sisolak said Friday he will consider toughening rules on face masks. Nevada now requires business employees to use masks, but does not require customers to do so.

Six members of Trump rally advance team test positive for coronavirus

The campaign made that announcement, saying quarantine procedures had gone into effect for the infected staff members and those in “immediate contact” with them, as hundreds of supporters filled downtown streets in anticipation of the president’s rally – his first since the virus brought much of public life to a standstill in March.

Upon entering the rally grounds, attendees were handed blue face coverings and directed through a maze of metal fencing, which led to a touchless temperature screening conducted by volunteers in purple smocks.

City police erected black fencing and other barriers around the 19,000-seat BOK Center, a private venue leased by the Trump campaign. Shortly before noon, the campaign directed officers to arrest a protester who had sat down within the barricaded zone, according to the police department.

The protester, Sheila Buck of Tulsa, said she had a ticket to the event. She was wearing a shirt that read, “I can’t breathe,” among the final words uttered by George Floyd as a police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck.

Adding to the fortified atmosphere, about 250 National Guard soldiers were on hand to supplement local authorities. Some were armed after the threat level was elevated, said Lt. Col. Geoff Legler, a spokesman for the Guard. Initially, the plan was to equip them only with batons, shields and pepper spray. Read the story here.

Florida sets new daily record with 4,049 coronavirus cases as death toll rises by 40

MIAMI — Florida’s Department of Health on Saturday confirmed 4,049 additional cases of COVID-19, continuing a record-breaking streak for the most new cases reported in a day. The state now has a total of 93,797 confirmed cases.

Previously, the highest daily total recorded was on Friday, when 3,822 cases were reported. There were also 40 new deaths announced Saturday, raising the statewide death toll to 3,144.

Coronavirus cases in Florida have consistently been trending up since mid-May, according to a Miami Herald analysis of public and non-public COVID-19 data through June 3. The trends could not be attributed solely to increases in testing, the analysis found.

Despite the rising numbers, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that he did not believe the state would become the next epicenter of the pandemic. He also said the increase was mainly younger people with mild symptoms and there were plenty of hospital beds available.

More than half of the known COVID-19 cases are in South Florida’s four counties — Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe. Miami-Dade continues to lead the state with the most confirmed cases and deaths.

Read the rest of the story here.

Italy has 262 new cases 4 months into outbreak

ROME — Italy has added another 49 deaths to its official coronavirus death toll as it approaches the four-month anniversary of the start of its outbreak.

The civil protection agency said Saturday that Italy registered 262 new confirmed cases over the past 24 hours, with the hard-hit Lombardy region still tallying the most.

In all, Italy has reported 238,275 confirmed cases and 34,610 deaths since identifying its first domestic coronavirus infection on Feb. 21 in the Lombardy town of Codogno.

The 38-year-old patient with that unpleasant distinction, had come down with pneumonia. At the time, Italy’s protocols called for coronavirus testing only on people who had been to China or come into contact with an infected person.

The doctor on call ordered a test for Mattia Maestri anyway, given the gravity of his condition. Maestri recovered from COVID-19 and was on hand for the birth of his daughter.

The Italian government began loosening virus lockdown restrictions last month. Public health officials say that while new cases are getting confirmed in much smaller numbers than before, they show the virus is still circulating.

Number of infected at German slaughterhouse tops 1,200

FRANKFURT, Germany — An official in northwest Germany says the number of workers infected in a coronavirus outbreak at a slaughterhouse in Germany has risen to 1,029 from 803 reported a day earlier but there is no evidence of a “significant” spread into the community.

The regional government has issued a quarantine order for all 6,500 workers and managers at the Toennies firm’s meat processing facility in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck and for their family members.

German news agency dpa quoted regional official Sven-Georg Adenauer as saying Saturday, “We have no significant introduction of coronavirus into the general population.”

More than 3,000 workers have been tested thus far. Testing continued Saturday at the facility with the support of police and 25 military personnel, dpa reported.

Some employees were under a so-called working quarantine, meaning they only are allowed to travel between home and work.

Russia’s death toll rises over 8,000

MOSCOW — Russia’s official COVID-19 death count has risen above 8,000.

The national coronavirus task force on Saturday reported 161 deaths over the past day, bringing the national total in the pandemic to 8,022.

Russia also recorded 7,889 new confirmed cases, the third consecutive day that the number of new cases dipped below 8,000. Overall, Russia has reported 576,982 confirmed cases.

The country’s comparatively low virus mortality rate has raised questions both in Russia and in the West, with some suggesting officials may be manipulating the numbers for political purposes.

Russian officials have bristled at the accusations, citing effective response measures.

New York Gov. Cuomo wraps up marathon string of more than 100 daily briefings

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrapped up a string of more than 100 daily briefings that had become appointment viewing around the nation by declaring that the state has “done the impossible” in taming the coronavirus.

The Democratic governor appeared alone behind his desk Friday during a brief address, a departure from his routine of presenting slides with bar graphs of COVID-19 hospitalizations and then taking questions from reporters.

But his message was the same as in recent days: New Yorkers at the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak worked together to fight the virus and now must be on guard for a second wave.

As case numbers climbed, the briefings, usually from the state Capitol, were covered live daily by networks, notably CNN, the employer of the governor’s younger brother and on-air sparring partner, Chris Cuomo.

Through his 110 briefings with reporters, the governor could be alternately informative, grave, jocular and combative.

On any given day, Cuomo fretted over the safety of his 88-year-old mother, got misty-eyed over the gift of a single mask, defended charges he locked down the state too late or grieved over daily death tolls that climbed as high as 800.

On Friday, Cuomo said an average of 25 people per day were dying this week. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 1,284, compared with more than 18,000 at the peak of the outbreak.

Pope welcomes health care workers from hardest hit Italian region

ROME — Pope Francis has welcomed doctors and nurses from Italy’s coronavirus-ravaged Lombardy region to the Vatican to thank them for their selfless work and sacrifice.

Francis told the delegation on Saturday that their example of professional competence and compassion would help Italy forge a new future of solidarity.

Francis said Lombardy’s medical personnel became “angels” helping the sick recover or accompanying them to their death, given their family members were prevented from visiting them in the hospital. He said they “gave witness to God’s proximity to those who suffer; they were silent artisans of the culture of proximity and tenderness.”

The northern region of Lombardy, Italy’s financial and industrial capital, was the hardest-hit region in the onetime European epicenter of the pandemic. It has counted more than 92,000 of Italy’s 232,000 infections and half of its 34,500 dead.

In big reversal, Treasury and SBA agree to disclose details about many small business loan recipients

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Small Business Administration and Treasury Department announced Friday that they would release a data set showing which businesses received many taxpayer-funded Paycheck Protection Program loans, walking back an earlier stance that all of the business names would remain hidden because the Trump administration considered them proprietary.

The disclosures will include the names of recipients who received loans of more than $150,000 and it will also reveal a dollar range for each loan, such as whether it was between $1 million and $2 million. Precise dollar amounts will not be disclosed, the Trump administration said. Borrowers who obtained loans of less than $150,000 would not have their identities disclosed. The Trump administration said that 75 percent of all loans were for $150,000 or more, so most borrowers would be revealed.

The announcement came after several weeks of tense negotiations with congressional leadership, in which members of both parties pressed for some form of disclosure. The plan announced Friday amounts to an attempted compromise in which most loan recipients will be made public while specific details would be obscured.

Read the rest of the story here.

South Africa reports nearly 4,000 new cases

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa is reporting nearly 4,000 new COVID-19 cases as the country continues to loosen lockdown measures under economic pressure.

Casinos, beauty salons and sit-down restaurant service are among the latest permitted activities as President Cyril Ramaphosa this week warned citizens that the fight against the coronavirus is a personal responsibility.

South Africa once had one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. It now makes up about 30% of the cases on the African continent, or more than 87,000. Its public laboratories are struggling to keep up with testing, with an average turnaround time of 12 days for results.

Africa’s 54 countries have more than 286,000 virus cases overall, but a shortage of testing materials means the real number of infections is unknown.

British detain five cruise ships

LONDON — British coast guards say they have detained five cruise ships after concerns about the welfare of crew members stranded by the coronavirus pandemic, some of whom have been aboard for a year.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency says it found “a number of expired and invalid Seafarers Employment Agreements, late payment of wages and crews who had been on board for over 12 months” when it inspected the ships.

Four of the vessels — the Astoria, Astor, Columbus and Vasco da Gama — are berthed at Tilbury Docks, east of London. The fifth, the Marco Polo, is at Avonmouth in southwest England. All five belong to Global Cruise Lines Ltd., which has its headquarters in Greece.

Coast guards say the ships will be detained until the labor breaches are resolved.

Cruise lines stopped sailing in mid-March after several large coronavirus outbreaks at sea, and thousands of seafarers remain stranded.

The All India Seafarers Union wrote to the Indian government last week seeking help for Indian crew aboard the Astoria it said were “stuck in foreign waters.”

Australian state will reimpose restrictions after spike

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s Victoria state is set to reimpose household restrictions from Monday after recording double-digit increases in COVID-19 cases for a fourth consecutive day.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews says household gatherings will be restricted to five guests and outdoor gatherings to 10 people until midnight July 12.

Andrews said Victoria recorded 25 new cases on Saturday, the biggest daily increase in two months.

The planned easing of restrictions for cafes, restaurants and pubs, from a maximum of 20 guests to a maximum of 50, will be deferred for three weeks. Businesses that are set to open for the first time Monday, including gyms and cinemas, will be allowed to do so but with a maximum of 20 people.

More than half of the of the new cases in Victoria have come from family-to-family transmission, Andrews said, adding: “I’m frustrated by it. I’m disappointed by it.”

He said the numbers remained low but the state authorities are “acting quickly and early to get back on top of it.” Andrews flagged the prospect of COVID-19 hot spots being forced back into stay-at-home lockdown if local outbreaks become serious.

Victoria state has accounted for 19 of Australia’s 102 deaths from COVID-19, and almost 1,800 of the country’s 7,411 confirmed infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Pakistan reports 153 new deaths

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has reported 153 COVID-19 fatalities, a new daily record, as infections continue to spiral, pushing the overall number of confirmed cases to 171,665.

Pakistan recorded 6,604 new infections in the last 24 hours. The total death toll stands at 3,382.

Hospitals are filling up and in many cities across the country, COVID-19 patients are being turned away.

In a country of 220 million people, Pakistan has less than 3,000 ICU beds, among the world’s lowest. Ventilators are being distributed to some of the worst-hit areas and the government has sealed more than 800 residential and business areas where clusters of infections have surfaced.

Yet despite urging from medical professionals, who have recorded more than 3,000 infections from among their ranks, and the World Health Organization, Pakistan has refused to impose strict lockdowns. Prime Minister Imran Khan says easing restrictions is the only way to save the economy.

On Friday, Pakistan signed a $1.5 billion loan agreement with three international lending institutions. The country’s poverty rate of 30% has jumped to 40% in just three months.

South Korean seeing continued upward trend

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported its largest 24-hour increase in confirmed coronavirus cases in about three weeks amid an upward trend in new infections.

Officials said Saturday that the 67 additional cases raise the country’s total to 12,373, with 280 deaths.

The 67 cases is the largest daily increase since South Korea reported 79 cases on May 28. Officials say 31 of the new cases came from outside the country and the other 36 were locally transmitted.

South Korea is seeking to contain a spike in fresh virus transmissions since early May when it eased social distancing rules. Most of the new cases have been reported in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of the country’s 51 million people reside.

Beijing records further drop

BEIJING — China’s capital has recorded a further drop in new confirmed coronavirus cases as tightened measures to contain the spread remain in place.

Officials reported 22 new cases in Beijing on Saturday, along with five others elsewhere in the country. No new deaths were reported and 308 people remain hospitalized for treatment for COVID-19.

One of the Beijing cases is a nurse at a hospital in the suburban Changping district. The Peking University International Hospital where she worked is now under tightened restrictions, along with residential communities in the surrounding area.

A total of 205 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Beijing since the outbreak began last week, with at least two of them critically ill and 11 others in serious condition.

Washington county hospitals are beyond capacity

YAKIMA, Wash. — Yakima County has the highest rate of coronavirus infection in Washington state and its hospitals are beyond capacity with sick patients.

The Yakima Health District said Friday that there was no space for more patients the previous night at Virginia Mason Memorial hospital in Yakima, which has more than 200 beds.

The Seattle Times reports that at least 17 patients had already been transferred out of Yakima County. That leaves 61 individuals in Yakima hospital beds with COVID-19 diagnoses, the county’s highest to date.

Yakima County accounts for 22% of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Washington state — 61 of 242 cases. It has more cases than King County, which is home to Seattle and has almost 10 times more people than Yakima Count.

Brazil passes 1 million confirmed cases

SAO PAULO — Brazil’s government says the country has surpassed more than 1 million cases confirmed coronavirus cases. That is second only to the United States.

The country’s health ministry reported Friday that the total of cases had risen to 1.032.913, up more than 50,000 from the previous day. The ministry says the sharp increase was due to corrections from previous days.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro still downplays the risks of the virus after nearly 50,000 fatalities in three months. He says the impact of social isolation on Brazil’s economy can be more deadly.

Specialists believe that the actual number of cases could be up to seven times higher, with the coronavirus now heading into underequipped smaller cities inland, where health professionals are also fewer.

Trump rally attendees not required to wear masks, court rules

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Supreme Court has rejected an effort to require everyone attending President Trump’s rally in Tulsa this weekend to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing inside the arena to guard against spreading the coronavirus.

The court ruled Friday the two local residents asking that the thousands expected at Saturday night’s rally be required to take the precautions couldn’t establish they have a clear legal right to the relief they sought.

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Mike Pellerin joins other Trump supporters on 4th Street and Cheyenne Avenue in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, ahead of President Trump’s Saturday campaign rally, on Friday. Mike Simons/Tulsa World via Associated Press

Oklahoma has had a recent spike in coronavirus cases, but in a concurring opinion, two justices noted the state’s plan to reopen the economy is “permissive, suggestive and discretionary.”

The appeal was filed on behalf of two people described as having compromised immune systems and being particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

Read the story here.

World Health Organization chief says pandemic ‘accelerating’ as cases hit daily high

GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization said the coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating” and that more than 150,000 cases were reported Thursday – the highest single-day number so far.

In a media briefing on Friday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said nearly half of the newly reported cases were from the Americas, with significant numbers from South Asia and the Middle East.

“We are in a new and dangerous phase,” he said, warning that restrictive measures are still needed to stop the pandemic. “Many people are understandably fed up with being at home (and) countries are understandably eager to open up their societies.”

But Tedros warned that the virus is still “spreading fast.” He noted the toll would be especially great on refugees, more than 80 percent of whom live in mostly developing nations.

“We have a shared duty to everything we can to prevent, detect and respond to the transmission of COVID-19 detected among refugees in hospitals.”

Read more about this here.

Navy upholds firing of aircraft carrier captain in virus outbreak

WASHINGTON — In a stunning reversal, the Navy has upheld the firing of the aircraft carrier captain who urged faster action to protect his crew from a coronavirus outbreak, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report.

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The firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, shown in January, has been upheld by the U.S. Navy. Crozier was fired after urging faster action to protect his crew aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt from a coronavirus outbreak. Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alexander Williams/U.S. Navy via Associated Press

The official said the Navy also extended the blame for the ship’s pandemic crisis, delaying the promotion of the one-star admiral who was also onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt — concluding that both men made serious errors in judgment.

The spread of the coronavirus aboard the carrier while on deployment in the Pacific in March exploded into one of the biggest military leadership crises of recent years. More than 1,000 members of the crew eventually became infected, and one sailor died. The ship was sidelined for weeks at Guam but recently returned to duty.

The decision by Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, to hold both Capt. Brett Crozier and his boss, Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, accountable is a confirmation of concerns expressed by top Pentagon officials who demanded a deeper investigation last month when the initial probe recommended Crozier’s reinstatement as the ship’s captain. The official described the findings on condition of anonymity to discuss a report not yet made public.

The investigation, done by Adm. Robert Burke and endorsed Friday by Gilday, defends the abrupt turnaround on Crozier saying that the more detailed probe uncovered poor decisions he made that failed to stem the outbreak or properly communicate the escalating crisis to senior commanders. It also concludes that the ship’s slow response to the virus was not just his fault, and that Baker also failed to take decisive actions to address the problem.

Gilday’s recommendations cap a drama that has engulfed the Navy for nearly three months, sidelining the carrier for 10 weeks in Guam, and setting off a dramatic series of events that led to Crozier’s dismissal, the abrupt resignation of the acting Navy secretary who fired him, and the push for a broader review of the Pacific fleet’s top commanders and how they handled the virus outbreak.

Based on the findings, Crozier and Baker would be able to remain in the Navy and move on to other jobs at their current rank, but the admonishments are likely career-enders for both men. Crozier’s firing upset the carrier’s crew, and he received an ovation as he walked off the ship.

Read the full story about Capt. Crozier here.

TSA insider says agency’s virus response endangering airport screeners, travelers

A Transportation Security Administration official is accusing the agency of failing to adequately protect airport screeners from the new coronavirus, endangering both the officers and the traveling public.

The top TSA official in Kansas, Jay Brainard, says the TSA’s actions amount to “gross mismanagement,” according to published reports.

Brainard filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, which handles whistleblower complaints, and the special counsel has ordered an investigation, according to the Washington Post and National Public Radio.

“We did not take adequate steps to make sure that we were not becoming carriers and spreaders of the virus ourselves,” Brainard told NPR. “I believe absolutely that that contributed to the spread of the coronavirus.”

TSA_Whistleblower_34860

In this June 17, 2020 file photo, a TSA worker, right, checks a passenger before entering a security screening at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/John Raoux, File

The special counsel’s office declined to comment. Messages for Brainard’s attorney were not immediately returned.

The TSA said in a statement Friday that it has followed guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in deciding protection standards for workers.

Spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said that at the start of the virus outbreak, TSA told employees that masks were optional, then made them mandatory at airport checkpoints in the first week of May.

Airport officers are required to wear nitrile gloves when they screen passengers. They must change gloves after every pat-down, and travelers can request the use of new gloves at any time, Farbstein said. Eye protection has remained optional for screeners.

The agency added that plastic barriers have been installed at security checkpoints and areas where checked bags are dropped off for screening.

Brainard believes those procedures still have gaps, however, including no procedure for how to handle travelers who appear to be sick, the Post said.

TSA says on its website that 706 of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and five have died, plus one screening contractor.

According to the published reports, the special counsel ordered TSA’s parent agency, the Homeland Security Department, to investigate Brainard’s allegations. By law, the special counsel only takes that step when it believes there is a “substantial likelihood” of wrongdoing.

The special counsel will review Homeland Security’s findings and issue a report to the White House and Congress.

Ex-FDA head criticizes movie theater chain for not requiring masks: ‘I don’t think this is a political issue’

Former FDA head Scott Gottlieb on Friday called “universal” mask-wearing “one of the simplest interventions that we can take” to prevent another surge of coronavirus cases, as more governors embrace mandates or let local officials make their own decisions.

Gottlieb had been asked on CNBC about the decision by AMC Theatres to not make moviegoers cover their faces. AMC’s president told Variety that he would be “leading by example” by wearing a mask in the theater but that “we did not want to be drawn into a political controversy.” In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Trump suggested that people may wear masks to signal their disapproval of him.

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