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Overnight Health Care: Experts fear July 4 weekend will exacerbate coronavirus spread | Texas Gov. Abbott will require masks in most of the state | Fauci warns: 'We are not going in the right direction'

Overnight Health Care: Experts fear July 4 weekend will exacerbate coronavirus spread | Texas Gov. Abbott will require masks in most of the state | Fauci warns: 'We are not going in the right direction'
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Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care.

You won’t see a newsletter from us tomorrow because of the Fourth of July holiday, but we’ll be back on Monday. 

There are more than 2.7 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S., including 128,000 deaths. Experts worry the fourth of July weekend will worsen the epidemic, as millions of people gather across the country to celebrate the nation’s independence. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) finally issued a mask mandate and Florida has once again hit a record-high in single day case increases. 

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Let’s start with the crowds...

Experts fear July 4 weekend will exacerbate coronavirus spread

Experts worry that the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. will worsen after the Fourth of July weekend, when millions of people gather across the country during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

Memorial Day weekend — when people flocked to beaches, pools, parties, restaurants and bars after a weeks-long lockdown — helped spur many of the outbreaks the U.S. is seeing across parts of the country. 

But now the stakes are even higher.

The U.S. is reporting record-high daily case counts, driven largely by outbreaks in the South and West. Several states are experiencing more severe outbreaks than they saw two months ago.

“I am very concerned, especially given this coming weekend, that the same types of spikes, the same types of surges could be seen not just in the places that are currently experiencing surges, but in places that have already experienced surges, and in ones that haven't yet,” said Joshua Barocas, assistant professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine.  

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Context: The state of the outbreak is worse now than it was around Memorial Day, in terms of the number of cases. The U.S. is averaging 40,000 new cases a day (and surpassed 50,000 Wednesday) and many more states have more severe outbreaks than they saw two months ago. Experts are urging people to continue practicing social distancing, or wearing a mask when that is not possible, and holding any events or gatherings outdoors in small groups.  

Read more here.

A major reversal from the Texas governor as coronavirus spreads: He will now require masks

Better late than never.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has issued an order making it mandatory for all Texans to wear a face covering of some kind while out in public as the state faces a surge in coronavirus cases.

The governor's office said the order applied to all counties in Texas with 20 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19, saying the move was necessary with other efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

"Due to recent substantial increases in COVID-19 positive cases, and increases in the COVID-19 positivity rate and hospitalizations resulting from COVID-19, further measures are needed to achieve the least restrictive means for reducing the growing spread of COVID-19, and to avoid a need for more extreme measures," Abbott said in his executive order issued Thursday afternoon.

Flashback: Abbott had previously clashed with local officials who wanted to impose mandatory face mask orders. It is a sign of how bad the situation is getting there that Abbott is now taking action on masks himself. 

Read more here

 

Related: A Trump administration official says the US is no longer ‘flattening the curve’ of the pandemic. 

“We are not flattening the curve right now. The curve is still going up,” Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, said during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing.  

Read more here

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge US COVID-19 cases reach past 13 million Fauci: Pandemic likely won't improve by Christmas, New Year's MORE offered a similar warning: 'We are not going in the right direction'

Fauci has been sounding the alarm this week, as the coronavirus continues to spread unabated across much of the country. A day after the country confirmed more than 50,000 new cases of coronavirus in a single 24-hour period, Fauci said younger people are now accounting for a much greater share of the pandemic.

"I think it's pretty obvious, Howard, that we are not going in the right direction," Fauci said in an interview with Howard Bauchner, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association. "We need to realize that if we do not adhere to the guidelines as we're trying to open, and I don't mean officially, I mean the citizenry, the people that are out there, we're going to be in some serious difficulty."

Flashback: Earlier this week, Fauci told senators in a hearing that he wouldn't be surprised if the country reached 100,000 new cases a day. We're more than halfway there. 

Read more from Fauci's interview here

 

Florida records over 10K COVID-19 cases, highest single-day increase

Florida recorded 10,109 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest single-day increase for the state.

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There are now more than 169,000 confirmed cases in Florida. An additional 68 deaths were reported Wednesday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 fatalities to 3,718.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans Group of Florida mayors calls on DeSantis to issue mask mandate DeSantis promises to keep Florida open despite recent coronavirus case surge MORE (R) has taken some steps to try to slow the spread of the virus, including closing bars and some beaches. While he has not issued a statewide mask mandate, several localities require the use of masks in public.

Read more here.

What we’re reading

Trial of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine delayed, investigators say, but July start still possible (Stat News)

After months of being silenced, CDC is easing back into public view (Yahoo News)

In the Covid-19 economy, you can have a kid or a job. You can’t have both. (New York Times)

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Fever checks can’t catch all COVID-19 cases. Smell tests might help (STAT 

State by state

On record-breaking day, Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump set for precedent-breaking lame-duck period Trump pardons Michael Flynn O'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' MORE says Florida in a ‘much better place’ in coronavirus fight (Tampa Bay Times)

Young people in Alabama are throwing coronavirus parties with a payout when one gets infected, official says (CNN)

Galveston beaches to close for July 4th weekend amid sharp rise in COVID-19 cases (Houston Chronicle)

Oregon State Police don’t wear coronavirus masks while patronizing coffee shop, despite governor’s order (Oregon Live) 

Op-eds in The Hill

The solution to COVID-19 spread was right in front of our eyes

Applying the lessons of Ebola to the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Updated: July 3 at 7:58 a.m.