The U.S., Britain and Canada accused Russia on Thursday of trying to steal vaccine research as companies race to develop a viable vaccine for the virus that has killed more than 580,000 people around the world.
In the U.S., more than 66,000 new cases were confirmed and 941 deaths were reported Thursday. In Florida, raucous partiers filled a popular street in Miami Beach despite the state’s ominous numbers. Florida reported 156 deaths and almost 14,000 new cases Thursday. Republicans organizing next month’s GOP convention “celebration” in Jacksonville may be forced to scale the festivities back to a single day.
Globally, Britain’s National Cybersecurity Center said the hacking group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear and said to be part of the Russian intelligence service, is attacking academic and pharmaceutical research institutions. It was unclear whether any information actually was stolen, but the center says individuals’ confidential information is not believed to have been compromised.
The U.S. has surpassed 3.4 million cases with over 137,400 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been 13.5 million cases and more than 584,300 deaths.
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Britain, the United States and Canada on Thursday accused Russia of attempting to steal information from researchers seeking a COVID-19 vaccine. The hacking group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear, is attacking academic and pharmaceutical research institutions, Britain’s National Cybersecurity Center said in coordination with authorities in the U.S. and Canada. It was not clear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin knew about the vaccine research hacking. U.S. authorities have for month leveled similar accusations against China.
“At this very moment, China is working to compromise American health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and academic institutions conducting essential COVID-19 research,” FBI Director Chris Wray said last week.
For the second time in the past three days, Florida reported a daily record for COVID-19 deaths. The state Department of Health said Thursday that an additional 156 Florida residents died of COVID-19 complications, an 18% increase over the previous daily high of 132 reported Tuesday. The state death toll stands as 4,677. The state also reported its second-highest positive cases Thursday, with 13,965, increasing Florida’s cumulative total to 315,775 – more than all but seven countries.
“Getting through this pandemic requires unity of purpose,” Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted. “I appreciate the hard work of Miami-Dade’s mayors and I’m 100% confident we are going to get through this.
Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci shrugged off criticism from President Donald Trump and his allies, expressing confidence he won’t lose his job despite a “complicated” relationship with the administration. Trump’s allies have publicly criticized Fauci, but the White House has disavowed a blistering op-ed from trade adviser Peter Navarro. Trump and Vice President Pence both defended Fauci. In an interview with CBS’ Norah O’Donnell published in Instyle, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said viewed his career in terms of his energy and effectiveness.
“And right now, with all due modesty, I think I’m pretty effective,” he said. “I certainly am energetic. And I think everybody thinks I’m doing more than an outstanding job.”
Tokyo reported a single-day record of 286 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday while nationwide new coronavirus cases topped 500 for the first time since April 18, officials said. The resurgence jeopardizes the central government’s plan to begin its Go To Travel subsidy campaign set to begin next week. On Thursday, Tokyo was dropped from the campaign. “We are looking at the situation with a high level of nervousness,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
Gov. Mike DeWine addressed Ohioans on statewide TV, urging them to increase their vigilance to ward off the threat of COVID-19 infections sweeping the state. DeWine warned Wednesday evening that “our state’s life is now in danger” but stopped short of implementing a statewide mask mandate or rolling back business reopenings amid a four-figure daily spike in cases. DeWine said it took Ohio 20 days to reach our first 1,500 total cases. Last week, Ohio confirmed 1,500 new cases in one day. The state’s death toll stands at over 3,100.
“If all of us do not take immediate action to slow this virus down, the tragedy that we see playing out on our television screens every day in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California may well be our reality in just a matter of weeks,” DeWine said. “It does not have to be this way in Ohio.
San Francisco and Sacramento have become the latest cities in California to announce that public school students will not return to classrooms when the new term begins because of surges in coronavirus cases and delays in getting test results back.
They join Los Angeles and San Diego, the state’s two largest districts. Also not reopening are schools in Oakland, Long Beach, Santa Ana, San Bernardino and others that have chosen to start the new term with digital learning amid strong concerns from teachers unions and public health officials about the safety of staff on school campuses.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond says he expects more districts to announce plans for distance learning.
The state of Arizona is working with a Texas-based company to bring nearly 600 out-of-state nurses to help stressed hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis. Vizient Inc. is working with the Arizona Department of Health Services to bring critical care and medical-surgical nurses to Arizona, state health officials said Wednesday.
To be eligible, hospitals must be operating in accordance with all of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive orders and must have “exhausted other existing avenues of increasing staffing,” state officials said in a news release.
More than 30 hospitals across Arizona already have applied to the state for help with staffing, department spokeswoman Holly Poynter said. Arizona has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections in the country, and its hospital system is feeling the strain of caring for the sickest of those getting the disease.
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Kohl’s will require shoppers wear face coverings at its more than 1,100 stores nationwide starting Monday. The Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based retailer announced its new mask policy Wednesday, hours after Walmart, Sam’s Club and Kroger announced they would mandate masks.
“As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, face covering mandates have grown to apply to approximately 70% of our store base, therefore we’ve made the decision to take a consistent approach across our entire store fleet,” Kohl’s said in a statement. “Beginning Monday, July 20, we will require all customers to wear a face covering while shopping in our stores.”
Kohl’s employees have been required to wear masks since stores started reopening May 4.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp extended the state’s coronavirus restrictions which was set to expire Wednesday. The governor is also banning cities and counties from mandating face coverings, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Kemp’s order does not require facial coverings but “strongly encourages Georgians to wear masks in public,” he said on Twitter. The order restricts gatherings of more than 50 people, requires vulnerable people to shelter in place and requires restaurants and businesses to follow specific protocols.
The extension, which expires July 31, comes a week after Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms mandated facial coverings in public and at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Several Las Vegas casinos are limiting smoking to keep patrons from removing the protective face masks they are required to wear.
In mid-June, Las Vegas Sands Corp. updated its policy to ask that table game players and spectators do not smoke or vape in its Venetian and Palazzo resorts. Wynn Resorts Ltd. has designated any table games without a plexiglass barrier as nonsmoking areas inside its Wynn and Encore casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
Nevada on Wednesday reported 849 new cases of COVID-19, a decline from a day earlier, when the state set a new daily high of 1,104 cases.
The birthplace of Motown got a reboot Wednesday. Four months after closing amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Motown Museum reopened its doors to the public, the latest cautious but optimistic symbol of a new normal.
The museum provided a snapshot of the way cultural sites across the region are adapting to the pandemic: reduced capacities, social distancing, revised foot-traffic patterns and masks, masks, masks.
At the Motown Museum, entry starts with a questionnaire, accessible on mobile devices via a digital code on placards out front. After confirming you’ve not had recent unprotected contact with someone with COVID-19 and are personally free of symptoms, it’s on to a touchless temperature check, administered by a staffer on the Hitsville porch.
If all’s well, you get the mark of approval: a sticker that reads “Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Good,” in a nod to the 1970 Stevie Wonder hit.
American Airlines executives warned employees Wednesday that the airline will have to lay off as many as 25,000 front-line workers this fall because travel has not rebounded from the coronavirus crisis as they had hoped.
The job cuts, which cover unionized employees including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and airport workers, represent nearly 30% of the company’s 85,000 front-line workers in its U.S. mainline operation. American previously cut 30% of its corporate staff, or 5,000 employees.
In a memo to employees, American CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said the goal when the payroll protection provisions of the federal CARES Act were signed in March was to buy time for travel to rebound so no layoffs were needed when the program ends Oct. 1. “That unfortunately has not been the case,” they said.
Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday defended Dr. Anthony Fauci in public comments made soon after he tweeted out a photo of the two of them at the White House.
“Dr. Fauci is a valued member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force,” Pence said on a campaign call with reporters when asked about recent attacks on Fauci by others in the administration. “We just completed our latest meeting today and we couldn’t be more grateful for his steady counsel.”