Samara Heisz/iStockBy JON HAWORTH, EMILY SHAPIRO and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 658,000 people worldwide.
Over 16.6 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 governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.
The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 4.3 million diagnosed cases and at least 149,234 deaths.
Here is how the news developed on Tuesday. All times Eastern:
9:41 p.m.: Veteran considered ‘clinically recovered’ from COVID-19 tests positive again
A resident at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, a long-term care facility for veterans in Holyoke, Massachusetts, that was devastated by a coronavirus outbreak this spring, has tested positive for the virus a second time, officials said.
According to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, the veteran had been considered “clinically recovered” from COVID-19, but recently began experiencing COVID-like symptoms again. On Monday, the veteran was transferred to a hospital for treatment and tested positive.
The resident was living in a unit dedicated to clinically recovered individuals. It is not known when the veteran first tested positive for the virus.
When asked whether this latest test could have been the result of an error, such as a false positive or a swapped lab sample, a spokesperson for HHS told ABC News, “No, this is a positive case.”
The spokesperson said it is still unclear whether the veteran was infected a second time, saying that “the science and medicine are unclear around reinfection.”
So far, there is no definitive proof that reinfection of COVID-19 is possible, an ABC News report found.
The test marks the first time since June 18 that a resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The Soldiers’ Home is now testing throughout the facility with support from the Massachusetts National Guard, and all residents in the unit for clinically recovered individuals are currently in quarantine. All outdoor in-person visitation has also been suspended until further notice.
Since March 1, 76 Soldiers’ Home residents who tested positive for the coronavirus have died. An independent investigation found that “substantial errors” and “utterly baffling” decisions by the home’s leadership likely contributed to the tragedy.
8:51 p.m.: Philadelphia school leaders pivot on reopening plans
After introducing a plan earlier this month to start the fall with a mix of online and in-person learning, Philadelphia school leaders are now proposing that schools stay remote until mid-November and then transition into a hybrid model.
In a letter to families on Tuesday, William R. Hite Jr. said the change in plans came “after careful consideration of all of the feedback we have received.”
Under the revised proposal, the school year would start with all students learning remotely through Nov. 17. At that point, they would transition to a hybrid learning model “as long as guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and other indicators support it is still safe to do so,” Hite said.
Starting with digital learning would allow more time for facilities improvements in schools, the letter noted.
Under the proposal, Chromebooks will be available for any student that needs one and meals will be provided for students during remote learning, the letter said.
The education board is set to consider the new proposal on Thursday.
5:34 p.m.: Kentucky recommends quarantining from ‘hot’ states
In today’s press conference, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that he is recommending a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers from states that have an equal to or greater than 15% positivity rate.
Those states would include Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas.
Beshear was optimistic about restaurants expanding capacity in two weeks, but said it will be dependent on the numbers across the state.
“It is my expectation that we’ll be able to increase capacity at restaurants again in two weeks,” Beshear said.
Commissioner for Public Health Steven Stack said that wearing a mask is the best thing people can do: “Wear a mask. If we want to keep businesses open, wear a mask. That is the single thing, if we just do it, if we get over the cultural divide about not wearing these things, this is how we keep businesses open, we keep people working, we get people back to the activities, we get kids back to school.”
Beshear announced 532 new cases on Tuesday, along with 10 deaths and a positivity rate of 5.08% — the first time it’s been down in four days.
5:22 p.m.: Pfizer announces it has begun phase 3 trials
Pfizer, in partnership with BioNTech, says it has started injections for its phase 3 trial of a coronavirus vaccine.
“The companies received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to proceed to phase 3 on Monday, immediately after which four volunteers in Rochester were among the first in the nation to receive the experimental vaccine,” the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health, where the study is taking place, said in a press release.
Another 11 people were injected on Tuesday.
Moderna announced it had begun injections of its vaccine on Monday as well.
“We were pleased to be a part of the early stage studies of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine and look forward to participating in these new critical clinical trials,” Dr. Edward Walsh, a professor in the URMC Department of Medicine, said in a statement. “While there is a tremendous urgency to develop a coronavirus vaccine and this study represents the final stage of human research, it is equally essential that we continue to rigorously evaluate the safety and efficacy of every potential vaccine candidate.”
President Donald Trump has said he wants to bring a vaccine to production by the end of the year.
4:45 p.m.: North Korea locks down Kaesong City
North Korea’s state-run KCNA reports that authorities imposed a complete lockdown in Kaesong City after the first reported COVID-19 case.
KCNA reported that Kaesong City has testing kits, PPE, disinfectants, masks and medical supplies at the ready.
The extent of spread of the coronavirus in North Korea has been largely unknown due to the country’s isolation from the world.
3:22 p.m.: Marlins games postponed through Sunday
Miami Marlins games will be postponed through Sunday after numerous Marlins players were diagnosed with COVID-19, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday.
“Given the current circumstances, MLB believes that it is most prudent to allow the Marlins time to focus on providing care for their players and planning their Baseball Operations for a resumption early next week,” the league said in a statement.
“The Marlins’ personnel who tested positive remain in isolation and are receiving care,” the league said.
ESPN reported Monday that multiple Marlins players had COVID-19 — one day after the Marlins played the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies’ Monday night game against the New York Yankees was canceled, as was the Marlins’ Monday night game against the Baltimore Orioles.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the remainder of the home-and-home series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees has been postponed (NYY @ PHI tonight, and PHI @ NYY Wednesday and Thursday),” MLB said Tuesday. “As a result of these postponements, the Yankees will now play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Wednesday and Thursday in order to create more scheduling flexibility later in the season. Additional rescheduling during the week of August 3rd will be announced later this week.”
2:40 p.m.: 12 NYC bars get liquor licenses suspended for ‘egregious’ violations
New York state has suspended liquor licenses at 12 New York City bars, alleging they made “egregious violations” of COVID-19 rules, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday.
“The bars and restaurants that ignore public health guidance are disrespecting their sacrifices which have saved lives while allowing us to sustain the reopening of our economy,” Cuomo said.
A state task force conducted over 1,300 compliance checks this weekend and reported 132 violations, Cuomo said. Over 600 more compliance checks were done Monday night and the task force found 26 violations in New York City, he said.
Businesses violating coronavirus rules can be fined up to $10,000 per violation. “Egregious violations can result in the immediate suspension of a bar or restaurant’s liquor license,” the governor’s statement said.
2:10 p.m.: 30% of new Louisiana cases are among young people
In Louisiana, 30% of the coronavirus cases reported on Tuesday are among people ages 29 and under, the state’s Department of Health said.
Twenty-six new fatalities were reported on Tuesday, bringing Louisiana’s death toll to 3,700, the Department of Health said.
As of July 25, all bars and restaurants in New Orleans are prohibited from selling takeout alcohol. A statewide rule prohibits bars from serving people on the premises.
1:35 p.m.: Columbus, Ohio, schools will begin year fully virtual
Columbus city schools — Ohio’s biggest school district — will have 100% virtual learning for the beginning of the year, from Sept. 8 to Oct. 27, officials announced Tuesday.
While it was recommended on June 30 that high schoolers go fully virtual and younger students have blended learning, since then, “public health conditions have dramatically worsened” in the county, Columbus City schools said in a statement Tuesday.
Franklin County, which includes Columbus, has at least 3,993 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 124 deaths, according to Monday’s data from the county.
Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin said the council stands with the school officials’ decision.
“While this is a tough decision, it will save lives and prevent the spread,” Hardin tweeted Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was concerned about the Midwest reopening, noting that hard-hit South and West states like Florida, Texas, Arizona and California look like “they may be cresting and coming back down.”
States like Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky are “starting to have” a “very early indication” of rising COVID-19 positivity rates — a “surefire sign that you’ve got to be really careful,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Good Morning America.
12:20 p.m.: DC, Illinois now on New York travel advisory list
Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota have been added to New York’s travel advisory list, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on a conference call Tuesday.
Anyone traveling to New York, New Jersey or Connecticut from a state with a high coronavirus test-positivity rate must quarantine for two weeks.
Thirty-four states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, are now on the list, according to ABC New York station WABC.
11 a.m.: Florida reports new daily death toll record
In Florida, a record 186 new fatalities were reported in one day, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health Tuesday morning.
The previous one-day record was 173 fatalities, reported on July 23.
Coronavirus cases in the state have jumped by 9,230, bringing the total to over 441,900, according to the Department of Health.
Florida has the second-most COVID-19 cases, behind California.
Of those tested in Miami-Dade County on Monday, 17.5% were positive, officials said.
Throughout Florida, 16.86% of the state’s adult ICU beds are available, according to Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration.
Two counties — Monroe and Putnam — had no ICU beds, the agency said.
These numbers will fluctuate throughout the day as hospitals and medical centers provide updates.
9:30 a.m.: Hospitals overwhelmed in Florida, Texas
An internal FEMA memo obtained by ABC News has detailed the latest on overwhelmed hospitals in Florida and Texas, and the strain on EMS systems in Georgia.
In Florida, hospitalizations statewide have increased 79% since July 4, with 8,974 current COVID-19 patients, the memo said.
In hard-hit Miami-Dade County, ICU beds were at 146% capacity, the memo said.
In Georgia, where the test-positivity has reached 15.6%, the EMS systems are under strain with staff out sick, according to FEMA.
And in Texas, as of July 22, five ICU beds were available in Laredo and none were available in Galveston, the memo said.
4:58 a.m.: Russia coronavirus cases pass 820,000
Russia reported 5,395 new COVID-19 cases and 150 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the coronavirus response headquarters statement on Tuesday.
“Over the past day, 5,395 cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus infections were confirmed in 84 regions of Russia, including 1,620 active asymptomatic cases (30.0%),” the headquarters said.
Russia’s total case count currently stands at 823,515 and 13,504 coronavirus patients died.
Moscow on Tuesday reported 674 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths.
3:35 a.m.: COVID-19 linked hunger killing 10,000 children per month, says UN
COVID-19 and its ramifications are pushing children who already live in hunger to beyond the breaking point, killing an estimated 10,000 more youngsters a month as meager farms have no way of delivering produce to markets while villages are isolated from food and medical supplies, the United Nations has warned.
Furthermore, more than 550,000 additional children each month are being struck by what is called wasting, which manifests in spindly limbs and distended bellies, according to the U.N.
3:16 a.m.: Trump Jr. shares video of doctor claiming hydroxychloroquine is a cure for COVID-19
Donald Trump Jr. shared a bizarre video on Twitter featuring what appears to be doctor that blasts the science and medical health experts recommendations about wearing masks and saying there are cures for COVID-19, including hydroxychloroquine.
Trump Jr. says “This is a much watch!!! So different from the narrative that everyone is running with.”
The doctor calls the science and studies against hydroxychloroquine fake studies and says they’re sponsored by big pharmaceutical companies.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.