The latest on the coronavirus pandemic around the U.S. and the world.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign fundraiser who is dating Donald Trump Jr., tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, before the president’s Independence Day celebration Friday night at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, a person familiar with the situation said.

Guilfoyle had not arrived at the event and was not in contact with President Trump, and Donald Jr. tested negative, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss their personal situation. Guilfoyle and Don Jr. were not seen in television footage of the president joined by aides, son Eric and daughter Tiffany, and they are planning to drive back to Washington to avoid contact with others, the person said.

The New York Times first reported Guilfoyle’s positive test Friday evening.

President Trump watches as planes do fly-overs of the Mount Rushmore National Monument on Friday evening in Keystone, S.D. Associated Press/Alex Brandon

The news came amid concerns from medical experts about the president’s event before a crowd of several thousand supporters, most not wearing masks and seated close together, at the foot of the famous monument featuring the images of four U.S. president carved into granite. Some experts cautioned that the event could present conditions in which the coronavirus could spread, although it was taking place outdoors, where risks are mitigated to a degree.

Trump hoped the official event that plays to themes of patriotism at a time he has denounced protesters for racial justice who have defaced and torn down statues of historical figures, including some Confederate leaders and former U.S. presidents, would bolster his flagging public approval ratings.

Yet the news of Guilfoyle’s positive test could set back his efforts. The president’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., two weeks ago, the first after a months-long hiatus amid widespread coronavirus shutdowns, was marred when several campaign staffers and Secret Service agents contracted COVID-19.

Read the full story here.

Alabama health officials can’t verify reports of ‘COVID party’

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Alabama Department of Public Health said it could not verify reports of so-called COVID-19 parties where students deliberately tried to become infected, but also warned people not to try it.

Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry told news outlets this week that she heard of students holding parties and wagering over who would become infected.

The department said it could not verify any parties where persons tried to contract COVID-19 but warned that it is a dangerous and sometimes deadly virus.

“Persons should not willfully expose themselves to this virus both for their own health and the health of others,” the department said.

Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith told the City Council on Tuesday that fire officials confirmed some students had attended parties despite knowing they were infected. The department thought the parties were rumors, but Smith said after some research, officials discovered they were real.

The Department of Public Health said people with COVID-19 are to remain in home quarantine and could be fined for violating quarantine.

Administration misses deadline to disclose Paycheck Protection Program loan data

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department and Small Businesses Administration appear unlikely to release information on hundreds of thousands of Paycheck Protection Program loans this week as planned, a setback in the Trump administration’s promises to be transparent about one of the largest economic stimulus packages ever created by the federal government.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said last week that they would release the names of borrowers who got at least $150,000 before the holiday weekend. That did happen. Melina Mara/The Washington Post

After offering contradictory statements on how much information they would release about more than 4.8 million forgivable loans issued from the $660 billion program, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced last week that they would release the names of borrowers who received at least $150,000 in funds before the holiday weekend.

But as of Friday afternoon – a government holiday – the Treasury Department and SBA did not indicate any plans to release the data. Congressional aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief the press, said they don’t expect the data to be released before Monday.

It wasn’t clear what was causing the delay. Representatives for the Treasury Department and SBA did not return requests for comment Friday on the reason for the delay.

Although the data to be released only comprises about 15 percent of the total number of loans – though much more of the dollar value – it would be the largest disclosure yet for a program that suffered from a rocky start but which economists credit with helping limit job losses. The unemployment rate reported Friday was 11.1 percent, down from the 14.7 percent reported for April.

At a June 30 House Financial Services Committee hearing, Mnuchin said that the Treasury Department and SBA would release the data by the end of this week. His statement confirmed the time frame that he and Carranza had laid out in an earlier letter to committee chair Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y.

Read the full story about transparency issues in the Paycheck Protection Program here.

Judge rules that Hawaii’s quarantine is reasonable during pandemic

HONOLULU — A U.S. judge will not stop Hawaii from enforcing a quarantine on arriving travelers, saying in a ruling that the emergency mandate is reasonable during the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A group of Hawaii, California and Nevada residents tried to stop the quarantine by filing a lawsuit alleging it is unfair and unnecessary. It violates the fundamental right to travel freely, they argued.

The quarantine mandate, which applies to out-of-state travelers and Hawaii residents, doesn’t prevent people from traveling and the plaintiffs “have elected not to travel — whether to or from Hawaii — because they do no want to be quarantined,” U.S. District Judge Jill Otake said in a ruling issued Thursday night denying a request for a temporary restraining order.

A lone surfer on Oahu’s North Shore near in March. Residents of Nevada and California filed a federal lawsuit to challenging the quarantine mandate. Associated Press/Caleb Jones

An attorney representing the people challenging the quarantine didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. A spokesman for the Hawaii attorney general’s office also didn’t immediately comment.

Hawaii “imposed the quarantine to prevent the importation and spread of COVID-19 and to avoid overwhelming the health care system, which are compelling state interests,” Otake said.

As of Thursday, Hawaii’s health department reported a total of 946 confirmed cases and 18 deaths since the outbreak began. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Hawaii has been able to keep infection rates low because of emergency restrictions, state Attorney General Clare Connors told Otake at a hearing Thursday.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

Harmeet Dhillon, representing the group who filed the lawsuit, said it’s not known if low rates can be attributed to the quarantine and that the state could have enacted less restrictive measures sooner.

Gov. David Ige has announced that starting Aug. 1, travelers will be able to bypass the quarantine if they test negative prior to arriving. Ige has yet to announce full details, but said the testing plan is similar to one in Alaska.

“Although the right to travel within the United States is constitutionally protected, that does not mean that a temporary quarantine cannot be instituted in certain areas when evidence shows that unlimited travel there would directly and materially interfere with the safety and welfare of that area,” Otake said.

Major League Baseball cancels All-Star Game for first time since 1945

LOS ANGELES  — Dodger Stadium’s 40-year wait to host the All-Star Game is going to last even longer.

The game scheduled for July 14 was canceled Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Dodger Stadium was awarded the 2022 Midsummer Classic. The 2021 game is set for Atlanta’s Truist Park, home to the Braves since 2017.

Because of the pandemic, opening day had already been delayed from March 26 to July 23 or 24.

“Once it became clear we were unable to hold this year’s All-Star festivities, we wanted to award the Dodgers with the next available All-Star Game, which is 2022,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

This will be the first time since 1945 that no game will be held. Travel restrictions because of World War II kept the game scheduled for Boston’s Fenway Park and any player selections from taking place that year. It was pushed back to the next season.

The Dodgers hosted the only the Mid-Summer Classic in Dodger Stadium history in 1980, won 4-2 by the National League.

July Fourth weekend will test Americans’ discipline

The U.S. headed into the Fourth of July weekend with many parades and fireworks displays canceled, beaches and bars closed, and health authorities warning that this will be a crucial test of Americans’ self-control that could determine the trajectory of the surging coronavirus outbreak.

With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.

Health experts agree this will be a pivotal moment in determining whether the nation slides into a deeper mess. The fear is that a weekend of crowded pool parties, picnics and parades will fuel the surge.

“We’re not going to be arresting people for having gatherings, but we’re certainly going to discourage it,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, public health director for Seattle and King County.

Beachgoers in Belmar, N.J. on June 28. Associated Press/Wayne Parry

Those who decide they must gather with a small group of family members need to be careful, he said: “Don’t share utensils, don’t share objects, don’t pass them back and forth, because you’re passing that virus around as well.”

The warnings were sounded after a Memorial Day weekend that saw many people emerge from stay-at-home orders to go to the beach, restaurants and family gatherings. Since then, confirmed infections per day in the U.S. have rocketed to an all-time high, more than doubling.

The U.S. set another record on Friday with 52,300 newly reported cases, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Arizona, California, Florida and Texas have been hit especially hard.

Despite it all, there will still be fireworks and community events scattered across the nation, with many taking social distancing into account. In Ohio, Upper Arlington’s July Fourth parade will take a much longer route through its neighborhoods so residents can watch without crowding the streets.

Secret Service agents preparing for Pence Arizona trip contracted coronavirus

WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Arizona this week had to be postponed by a day after several Secret Service agents who helped organize the visit either tested positive for coronavirus or were showing symptoms of being infected.

Pence was scheduled to go to Phoenix on Tuesday but went on Wednesday instead so that healthy agents could be deployed for his visit, according to two senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private details of the trip.

Arizona has seen a spike in cases in recent weeks and Pence scaled back the trip before the delay because of the growing amount of infections in the state.

Pence’s staff was concerned last weekend about their ability to hold planned public events in Tucson and Yuma due to the outbreak, one administration official said, and decided on Saturday to visit only Phoenix for a much smaller meeting – a public health briefing with Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and local health care leaders.

Vice President Mike Pence, right, removes his face mask at a news conference with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Phoenix on Wednesday. Associated Press/Ross D. Franklin

On Monday night, the Secret Service urged Pence’s staff to delay the Tuesday trip until Wednesday because at least one agent on the ground had a confirmed case of COVID-19 and other agents and federal officers preparing for the Arizona visit were showing signs of illness, according to two administration officials.

The Secret Service needed time to bring in healthy agents and other personnel to replace the ones who were either sick or most likely sick, one of the officials said. The official said the Secret Service estimated that a total of eight to 10 agents and other officers from sister agencies – all of whom were helping prepare for Pence’s visit to Arizona – had fallen ill.

Read the full story.

UK announces that visitors from 60 countries will not have to quarantine

LONDON — British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says anyone arriving to England from around 60 countries or overseas territories will not have to self-quarantine for 14 days from July 10.

Shapps confirmed on BBC radio that four countries — France, Germany, Italy and Spain — will be on that initial list. The United States will remain on the “red list” because of still high levels of coronavirus infections.

Other countries where travelers will not face a requirement to quarantine on their return are expected to include a number of European nations and the likes of New Zealand, which reduced the incidence of the coronavirus dramatically.

The full list is expected to be published later.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson Johnson said that “it’s right we should open up cautiously” and that the U.K. cannot have infections from abroad.

Half of Tokyo’s new cases are linked to night spots

TOKYO — Japan’s capital has reported 124 new coronavirus cases, exceeding 100 for the second straight day, as the governor asked residents to stay away from night spots linked to half of all infections.

Gov. Yuriko Koike said the increase reflected a larger number of people proactively taking tests, but she did raise concern about a significant number of untraceable cases.

She says, “We need to raise our caution against the further spread of the infections and to prepare for a second wave.”

The latest rise began in late June, weeks after Japan lifted a state of emergency that allowed Tokyo to gradually return to business.

Koike said the majority of recent cases were younger people in their 20s and 30s linked to nightlife establishments. She urged them to avoid such spots or choose places with adequate safety measures.

Koike said closing businesses is a possibility if another emergency is declared, but it would apply to specific establishments or districts instead of the entire prefecture.

Japan has had 19,068 cases with 976 deaths. Tokyo accounts for about a third of the total.

Johannesburg has record high numbers

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa on Friday confirmed another record high number of daily virus cases with 8,728 as anxiety grows in Johannesburg, the country’s latest hot spot.

The city has more than 22,000 cases and Gauteng province, which also includes the capital, Pretoria, now has nearly 30% of the country’s cases.

South Africa has Africa’s most confirmed cases with more than 168,000.

The country has the most developed health care system in sub-Saharan Africa and in places it’s already pushed near the limit, with more than 2,000 health care workers infected and beds in Gauteng’s public hospitals filling up.

Indian tourist destinations to reopen as virus numbers climb

NEW DELHI — India reported another single-day record high of new virus cases Friday while its monuments like the Taj Mahal will reopen for tourists next week.

The 20,903 new cases took the national total to 625,544. The Health Ministry also reported another 379 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking fatalities up to 18,213.

With the current rate of infections, India is expected to surpass Russia’s 660,000 cases in coming days and become the third worst-hit country after the United States and Brazil. It has the eighth-most fatalities in the world, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, but both numbers are thought to be far higher than has been confirmed around the world.

After a strict two-month lockdown, India has eased its restrictions in most of the country except for the highest-risk areas.

The Culture Ministry decided to reopen all monuments Monday with a cap on the number of visitors and mandatory masks.

Texas Republicans to hold 3-day convention in Houston, a hotspot

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas GOP is moving ahead with a three-day convention in Houston, one of the nation’s coronavirus hotspots, over opposition from doctors and some local party activists.

Party leaders voted Thursday night to stick with an in-person gathering starting July 16. The event is typically one of the largest political conventions in America, drawing thousands of attendees, and some supporters suggested that changing plans is not what President Donald Trump would want.

The vote came hours after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask order as COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas set another high Thursday. Hospitals in Houston have warned they are becoming stretched and the Texas Medical Association has called for cancelling the convention, saying now was not the time to pack thousands of people indoors.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, has left the decisions about the convention up to the GOP. Abbott has also not taken a position on whether his party should go forward with meeting in person.

Australian officials consider locking down more Melbourne suburbs

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian authorities are considering locking down more suburbs in Melbourne, where 66 new coronavirus cases were reported.

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said suburbs with more than five cases and a high infection rate could be added to the 36 suburbs that have been locked down since Wednesday.

Sydney, Australia’s largest city, said a man who recently tested positive had been working in a Balmain supermarket.

Around 50 supermarket staff have gone into isolation. Health authorities have urged people who have visited the supermarket and show symptoms to be tested.

South Korean resurgence of virus spreads

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 63 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 as health authorities scramble to mobilize public health tools to the southwestern city of Gwangju, where more than 50 people were found sickened over the past week.

The figures announced by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday brought the national caseload to 12,967 infections, including 282 deaths.

Thirty-one of the new cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a virus resurgence since late May.

Six of the new cases came from Gwangju, where officials have raised concern over possible shortages in hospital capacities, while 13 of them came from the southeastern city of Daegu, which had been the epicenter of a major outbreak in February and March.

The municipal government of Gwangju, which had one of the smallest caseloads among major South Korean cities before this week, has shut hundreds of schools and banned gatherings at wedding halls, banquet facilities and senior welfare centers to stem the transmissions.

Neighboring provinces are providing dozens of hospital beds and planning to send medical personnel to help Gwangju deal with the spike of infections.

Kim Jong Un repeats claim that North Korea has not had a single case of the coronavirus

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urged officials to maintain alertness against the coronavirus, warning that complacency risked “unimaginable and irretrievable crisis,” state media said Friday.

Despite the warning, Kim reaffirmed North Korea’s claim to not have had a single case of COVID-19, telling a ruling party meeting Thursday that the country has “thoroughly prevented the inroad of the malignant virus” despite the worldwide health crisis.

Outsiders widely doubt North Korea escaped the pandemic entirely.

Describing its anti-virus efforts as a “matter of national existence,” North Korea earlier this year shut down nearly all cross-border traffic, banned tourists and mobilized health workers to quarantine anyone with symptoms. Experts say the country’s self-imposed lockdown is hurting an economy already battered by stringent U.S.-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile program.

The Korean Central News Agency said Kim during the politburo meeting of the Workers’ Party “stressed the need to maintain maximum alert without a slight self-complacence or relaxation” as the virus continues to spread in neighboring countries.

The agency said Kim sharply criticized inattentiveness among officials and violations of emergency anti-virus rules and warned that a “hasty relief of anti-epidemic measures will result in unimaginable and irretrievable crisis.”


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