This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Thursday, July 9th, 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:

5:45 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that New York City would cancel all large events requiring a city permit through September 30th.

"The data is telling us it is not time for large gatherings," de Blasio told CNN. He said that the policy would apply to street fairs, outdoor concerts, and parades.

"It's just not time for that," he said.

A press release issued before the mayor's interview said the reason for the cancellation of events was to allow for the prioritization of open spaces for public use.

"The City will not issue a permit for any event in a location that interferes with the Open Streets or Open Restaurants program," the release read. "Permits will also be denied for all events larger than one block, stage/video events that require amplification, street fairs, and events in parks that may unreasonably diminish public use."

In a statement, the mayor said: "While it pains me to call off some of the city's beloved events, our focus now must be the prioritization of city space for public use and the continuation of social distancing."

Demonstrations, religious events, and press conferences will be exempt from the executive order.

The city has scrapped a bevy of large-scale events as a result of the coronavirus pandemic beginning with the St. Patrick's Day Parade in March. June would have marked the 50th anniversary of the gay pride parade. The Puerto Rican Day Parade, another event that draws millions, was also canceled. With the latest order, the Dominican Day Parade and West Indian Day Parade will now also have to be dropped.

Fauci Urges States With Outbreaks To Consider “Shutting Down,” But Later Says They Should “Pause” Reopenings Instead

3:30 p.m. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's most prominent infectious disease official, said that states struggling with coronavirus outbreaks should consider shutting down in the form of stay-at-home orders.

“I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down,” Fauci said Wednesday in a podcast produced by the Wall Street Journal.

Prior to his comment, he cited some states that reopened too fast or who tried measured approaches that resulted in "people crowded at bars with no masks."

But one day after that interview, he walked back his remark and said states should be pausing their reopenings rather than electing for a full shutdown.

"I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process, looking at what did not work well and try to mitigate that," Fauci said during an event hosted by the Hill newspaper. "I don't think we need to go back to an extreme of shutting down."

He added that a complete shutdown would "not be viewed very, very favorably, even by the states and the cities involved."

Fauci, who is a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has done a string of interviews and public appearances in recent days, stressing the importance of social distancing and wearing face masks.

He has also warned the public that the worst is not over, even as President Donald Trump and other administration officials have pushed states to reopen quickly and downplayed the recent coronavirus surges in the South and West.

Late last month, Fauci told a Senate committee that the United States might reach as many as 100,000 new cases a day. At the time the number of new cases was hovering around 40,000 per day. That figure has steadily ticked up. The New York Times, which has been maintaining its own database of virus cases, reported that U.S. set another record for new cases on Wednesday with more than 59,400 new infections documented. Speaking with WNYC's Brian Lehrer last month, Fauci said he is conscious that the press is quick to jump on certain statements he makes.

During the WSJ interview, he was careful to say he did not want to assign blame to any states or individuals. “It’s a complicated issue. You don’t want to be blaming people,” he said.

He added that during New York's crisis, he had multiple conversations with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio over the decision to impose a full shutdown.

"They did it and it worked for them," he said.

1:00 p.m. The Archdioceses of New York and Brooklyn on Thursday separately announced the permanent closure of 26 Catholic schools following declining enrollments that they attributed to the financial toll inflicted on families from the ongoing pandemic.

The New York Archdiocese, which encompasses Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island and northern suburban counties, said it will close 20 Catholic schools and merge three that are outside of the city, according to a press release.

"Mass unemployment and continuing health concerns have resulted in families’ inability to pay their current tuition, and a significantly low rate of re-registration for the fall; while months of cancelled public masses and fundraising for scholarships have seen a loss of parish contributions which traditionally help support the schools," the release said.

Within the New York Archdiocese, the closure is expected to impact approximately 2,500 students and 350 staff.

The Brooklyn Archdiocese said six Catholic academies, located in Brooklyn and Queens, will close their doors effective August 31st, 2020.

According to the Brooklyn Archdiocese, more than $630,000 in tuition bills for the past school year (2019-2020) remains outstanding at the six schools.

“Children are always the most innocent victims of any crisis, and this COVID-19 pandemic is no exception,” said Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. “Given the devastation of this pandemic, I’m grateful more schools didn’t meet this fate, and that Catholic schools nearby are ready to welcome all the kids.”

The pandemic hastens a long and continuing crisis for the Catholic schools, both in New York City and across the country. For decades, the waning influence of the Catholic Church along with sexual abuse scandals have led to falling enrollments in Catholic schools, which were once seen as an affordable alternative for working class children.

.“The reality of these schools being lost is painful, and it was only accepted reluctantly after a detailed study was conducted of their respective fiscal standing in the wake of the coronavirus public health crisis,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Deegan. “I have been a Catholic school educator for more than 40 years, and could never have imagined the grave impact this pandemic has had on our schools. If more assistance is not forthcoming in the longed for HEROES Act now before Congress, I am afraid even more might close.  This is a very sad day for everyone in the extended Catholic school community."

Below is the list of schools that will not reopen:

  • Queen of the Rosary in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • St. Gregory the Great in Crown Heights/Flatbush, Brooklyn
  • Our Lady's Catholic Academy in South Ozone Park, Queens
  • Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach, Queens
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Whitestone, Queens
  • St. Mel's Catholic Academy in Whitestone, Queens
  • Corpus Christi School, Manhattan 
  • Divine Mercy School, New Windsor
  • Holy Family School, New Rochelle
  • Nativity of Our Blessed Lady School, Bronx
  • Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St. Benedicta School, Staten Island
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, Pelham Manor
  • Our Lady of Pompeii School, Manhattan
  • Our Lady of the Assumption School, Bronx
  • Sacred Heart School, Suffern 
  • St. Ann School, Yonkers
  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School, Shrub Oak 
  • St. John’s School, Kingsbridge, Bronx 
  • St. Joseph-St. Thomas School, Staten Island
  • St. Luke School, Bronx
  • St. Patrick School, Bedford
  • St. Paul School, Yonkers
  • St. Peter School, Poughkeepsie
  • Sts. Peter & Paul School, Staten Island
  • Sts. Philip & James School, Bronx
  • St. Thomas Aquinas School, Bronx

NYC Unveils Cooling Plan To Help New Yorkers Endure A Socially Distanced Summer

11:30 a.m.: New York City will open 145 cooling centers across the five boroughs to aid heat-burdened New Yorkers during the summer months, but with special precautions in place given the pandemic.

Deanne Criswell, commissioner for the city Office of Emergency Management, on Thursday announced that the city has identified schools, community centers, and other non-profit organizations that have offered up space.

"This number is going to begin to go up this summer," Criswell said during a press conference with Mayor de Blasio.

New Yorkers visiting cooling centers will have to abide by social distancing guidelines that include face coverings and staying six feet apart. There will also be a cap in the number of people allowed to visit a center.

Part of the city's cooling arsenal includes 14 so-called "Cool Streets" found within the the city's already established Open Streets program. During heat waves, the FDNY will install spray caps on fire hydrants at each of the following locations:

East Harlem, 101st St. between Park and Third avenues
Harlem, W. 117th St. between Morningside and Fifth avenues
Harlem, W. 138th St. between Lenox Ave. and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
Hamilton Heights, Edgecombe Ave. between St. Nicholas Place and W. 145th Street

New Lots, Blake Ave. between Miller Hindsdale streets
Boerum Hill, Wyckoff St. between Nevins St. and 3rd Ave.
Brownsville, Williams Ave. between Liberty and Atlantic avenues
Red Hook, Henry St. between Lorraine and Bay streets
Ft. Greene, N. Elliott Pl. between Park and Flushing avenues

Morrisiana, Trinity Ave. between E. 166th and E. 161st streets
Mott Haven, E. 140th St. between Brook and Willis avenues
Mott Haven, Jackson Ave. between E. 143rd and E. 147th streets

South Richmond Hill, 120th St. between Atlantic and Liberty avenues
Sunnyside, 39th Ave. between Woodside and Barnett avenues

The cooling options come as the city has already supplied more than 34,000 air conditioning units to the elderly living in private homes or public housing across the five boroughs. Meantime, 650 sprinklers have been turned on at New York City parks.

In other news, the city is also making available $10 million in grants to more than 20 groups to help the city’s test and trace corps program, which tracks New Yorkers who may be infected with the coronavirus, to perform outreach to communities.

"A lot of people were afraid to get tested predominantly because of their immigration status," said Anabel Palma, the city’s equity officer for the program.

"This program has nothing to do with your immigration status but everything to do with the health and safety of yourself and your loved ones," she added.

The city is also launching a hyper-local response in some COVID hotspots, beginning with the Bronx neighborhood of Tremont. It will include a rapid testing response where test results will be ready in 15 minutes, said Palma. Those who test positive will be provided with a hotel room if they can't properly self-isolate for 14 days.

McCarren Park on July 8, 2020

NJ Jobless Claims Jump 66 Percent, NY Ticks Up Slightly

10:30 a.m.: New York and New Jersey both reported an increase in the number of workers filing for state unemployment benefits last week, bucking a national trend of waning jobless claims as the U.S. struggles to restart its economy amid widespread increases in COVID-19 infections.

The starkest rise occurred in New Jersey, where the number of people applying for state unemployment benefits rose to more than 46,000, a jump of 66 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Meanwhile, in New York, jobless claims hit 93,800, up 4 percent from the prior week.

Experts noted the fact that last week included a holiday weekend and said that next week's labor report might be a better indicator of what is actually happening in the job market.

Across the country, 1.3 million workers filed new state unemployment claims last week, down 99,000 claims from the prior week's level.

The number of continued U.S. jobless claims, which counts workers receiving benefits for at least two weeks in a row, has been steadily falling for six out of seven weeks since May 9th to 18.1 million last week.

Still, many economists have expressed concerned about the pace of job recovery during the pandemic, especially as new shutdowns give way to another wave of layoffs.

Last month, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers that “significant uncertainty remains about the timing and strength of the recovery.”

Of especial concern to some is the expiration of an extra $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits that is set to expire at the end of the month.

"Cutting off a policy support that helps households maintain spending is a terrible idea, both for these households’ welfare and for macroeconomic stabilization," wrote Josh Bivens, a director of research at the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.

Heidi Shierholz, a former chief economist at the U.S, Department of Labor, on Thursday tweeted about "the deep hole the labor market is in." She added that the recession "is exacerbating existing racial inequalities by causing greater job loss in black households than white households."

She urged federal lawmakers to "do much more."