This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Tuesday, July 7h, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.
New York City is in Phase 3 of reopening now, which includes nail salons, tattoo parlors, and massage facilities as well as recreation like tennis and basketball courts; dog runs are also reopening. A look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.
Here's the latest:
- NYC Poised To Approve Reopening Of 3,000 Daycares
- EPA Approves Two Lysol Cleaning Products As Effective At Fighting COVID-19
- Everything You Need To Know About Phase 3 Of Reopening NYC
- Fire Island Pines Leaders Demand Changes After Weekend Of "Irresponsible" Partying During Pandemic
- State Study Says Covid Spread In Nursing Homes Was Driven By Employees, Not Readmitted Patients
4:40 p.m. President Trump has submitted formal notice withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization, making good on a previous threat to permanently cut ties with the global health agency for its "repeated missteps" throughout the pandemic.
Senator Bob Menendez, the leading Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said that Congress had been notified of the withdrawal, which would take effect on July 6th, 2021.
"To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn't do it justice," Menendez wrote on Twitter. "This won't protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone."
A spokesperson for the UN secretary-general also confirmed to the BBC that the US had submitted its plans to permanently leave the WHO.
Because the US currently funds about 15 percent of the agency's budget, the withdrawal could "call into question the WHO's financial viability and the future of its many programmes promoting healthcare and tackling disease," according to the BBC.
The WHO is currently leading an international collaboration of scientists working to develop a vaccine against COVID-19.
President Trump previously lashed out at the agency in late May, claiming that China had "total control over the World Health Organization," and convinced them to "mislead the world" about COVID-19. The president has provided no evidence to support the claim; audio recordings of early meetings between WHO and Chinese officials suggest the assertion is false.
The withdrawal comes as the United States continues to see a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases — on Saturday, the country recorded its highest number of new cases to-date — even as other nations on similar previous trajectories have managed to slow the virus.
Despite the surges, Trump continued to downplay the threat of the global pandemic, telling Fox Business News last week that he hoped the virus would "just disappear."
2:30 p.m. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday three more states that have infection levels high enough to qualify for the state's mandatory 14-day quarantine rule, bringing the total number up to 19.
The growing list reflects the surging number of cases across the country. As many as 39 states have been identified as having reported a rise in infections.
"We will now require individuals coming from Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma to quarantine for 14 days," Cuomo said in a press release. "New Yorkers did the impossible—we went from the worst infection rate in the United States to one of the best—and the last thing we need is to see another spike of COVID-19."
New York has defined its quarantine threshold for states as those with more than 10 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people or if the infection rate is above 10 percent based on a seven-day rolling average.
The full list of states that qualify are as follows: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
Cuomo, along with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut, first announced their plans for a travel advisory requiring a 14-day quarantine on June 24th. The list at the time included eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. (Washington state was originally included but was dropped from the list one day later.)
Although the state has threatened to impose fines as high as $10,000 for offenders, it is not clear how easily the quarantine order can be enforced in practice.
NYC Poised To Approve Reopening Of 3,000 Daycares
12 p.m. The New York City Board of Health is slated to approve the reopening of 3,000 childcare centers across the five boroughs on July 13th, as the city continues to pull back on restrictions implemented during the coronavirus outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this morning.
“The Board of Health is looking at the data, looking at the facts, how to do this properly, how to do it safely. There’s been a lot of conversation between the Board of Health and our Health Department and the childcare providers over recent weeks and they are ready to go,” de Blasio said during a press conference.
The Board of Health is expected this afternoon to review a set of guidelines for reopening, including a maximum occupancy of 15 children per room, social distancing requirements, mandatory face coverings for staff, frequent health screenings, and disinfection of facilities.
Kids will allowed to share items such as toys only on a limited basis. They will not need to wear masks.
Staffers with the city Health Department will inspect programs to verify compliance.
Along with the 125 city childcare centers that have been operating since April solely for children of essential workers, Regional Enrichment Centers overseen by New York City's Department of Education have been open for children of essential workers as well. Those centers became childcare centers after school wrapped up two weeks ago.
The Board of Health largely serves at the pleasure of the mayor, who appoints the majority of the members. Current members include the city health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation CEO, Dr. Mitchell Katz.
“One of the things we see—thank God—is that the data consistently shows a low infection rate among children when it comes to the coronavirus,” de Blasio said.
EPA Approves Two Lysol Cleaning Products As Effective At Fighting COVID-19
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved two cleaning products made by Lysol that have been proven to kill the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.
The two Lysol cleaners, Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist, are the first for which the agency has reviewed laboratory studies to support its claims as being effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.
All told, the EPA has approved more than 420 disinfectants for use against the coronavirus. But up until last week, with the examination of the two Lysol products, the agency had only been vetting surface disinfectant products that either demonstrated that they could kill other viruses, not the specific coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
“EPA is committed to identifying new tools and providing accurate and up-to-date information to help the American public protect themselves and their families from the novel coronavirus,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a press release on Monday. “EPA's review of products tested against this virus marks an important milestone in President Trump’s all of government approach to fighting the spread of COVID-19."
Cleaning product manufacturers have experienced record sales during the pandemic. As of April, sales of Lysol disinfectant in North America were up more than 50 per cent.
"Lysol is currently testing the efficacy of other disinfectant products in the brand portfolio," Ferran Rousaud, marketing director for Lysol, said in a statement.
Trump in late April falsely speculated that disinfectants could be used as a cure for coronavirus. The comments alarmed public health experts and spurred health authorities and Lysol's parent company to issue warnings that cleaning products should never be ingested.
The EPA's website currently contains a disclaimer that says, "These products are for use on surfaces, NOT humans."
The primary modes of transmission of the virus are still hotly debated in the scientific community. In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to clarify that while it may be possible to become infected by touching a surface that has the virus, "this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads."
Similarly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said there is no need to wipe down food packaging.
"We want to assure you there is currently NO evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the #COVID19," the agency tweeted in late April.