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According to a Pew Research Center report, discrimination and racism have increased in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, particularly for Asians.

USA TODAY

As the coronavirus pandemic reached new highs in Florida and across the world Sunday, New York City health officials offered a glimmer of hope: They reported zero deaths for the first time in four months. 

Meanwhile, with more than 66,000 new infections, the U.S. accounted for almost 29% of the 230,000 reported cases globally Sunday by the World Health Organization.

Nearly 15,300 of the new cases in the U.S. were confirmed in Florida, which smashed recent records, reporting 269,811 cases. California held the previous daily record of 11,694, established four days ago. New York had 11,571 deaths on April 15.

Internationally, the wife of a French bus driver who was beaten to death after he asked four passengers to wear face masks aboard his vehicle called Saturday for “exemplary punishment” for his killers. The bus driver had been hospitalized in critical condition after the July 5 attack, and his death was announced Friday.

Some recent developments: 

  • A top medical adviser in the Trump administration said Sunday that he expects “deaths to go up” for two or three weeks before the country “turns around.” Meanwhile, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Sunday there was no danger in sending children back to school.
  • Large and small labs running 24/7 can’t process samples quickly enough from millions of Americans tested every week. That means COVID-19 test results are delayed a week or longer in hot spot communities, undercutting public health efforts to track, isolate and prevent spread.
  • The “current best estimate” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that approximately 40% of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic. The chance of transmission from people with no symptoms is 75%, the data reports.

📈 Today’s stats: The U.S. has surpassed 3.3 million cases with over 135,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been 12.9 million cases and over 569,000 deaths.

📰 What we’re reading: Public health experts fear a scenario where “me first” vaccine nationalism pits nation against nation to get and keep enough doses for their citizens. Countries, as of now, are focusing on their own vaccine development programs rather than collaborating to pool resources. 

New York City health officials report no deaths for first time since March 11

Initial data released Sunday by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported that no one died from the virus in the city on July 11, exactly four months after the state’s first official death was recorded on March 11.

Officials also recorded no confirmed deaths the day before as well, but did report two probable deaths.

The welcoming news comes after a harrowing four-month stretch in the nation’s most populated city. The peak in confirmed daily deaths was April 7, with at 597, although another 216 people were likely to have died from the virus that day despite no positive laboratory tests.

All told, New York City has reported 18,670 deaths from COVID-19 and 4,613 probable fatalities. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday the state has maintained a “low and stable” number of people testing positive for coronavirus.

Oklahoma reports state’s first teen death, a 13-year-old at Fort Sill

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported Oklahoma’s first COVID-19-related death in the 5-17 age category.

The patient was identified as a 13-year-old who died at Comanche County Memorial Hospital on Friday night, reported local news station KSWO-TV. Oklahoma military base Fort Sill said the teen was a dependent of an active duty service member at the post, where family members are in isolation.

The state department reported 456 new coronavirus cases across the state Sunday, bringing the total cumulative number of the state’s positive cases to 20,235.

Mexico surpasses Italy in confirmed deaths; 4th highest total of any country

Mexican officials say the total number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths has passed 35,000, moving it past Italy with the fourth-most deaths of any country in the world.

Only the United States, Brazil and Britain have recorded more deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the recent news “is positive, it is good” because only nine of the country’s 32 provinces had increases in cases of infection. 

“The bottom line is that the pandemic is on the downside, that it is losing intensity,” he said.

Meanwhile, Italy, which was one of the first hot spots of the virus in Europe, has seen hospitals declare themselves coronavirus-free. The country’s deaths Saturday fell to 7, with confirmed daily cases dropping to below 200, according to health officials.

French widow condemns ‘barbaric’ death of driver beaten over masks

Veronique Monguillot said she told the French interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, that she was “destroyed” by the fatal assault on her husband at a bus stop in Bayonne, southwest France.

“We must bang a fist on the table, so this never happens again,” she said. “It’s barbaric, not normal. We must stop this massacre.”

Bus driver Philippe Monguillot was attacked July 5 after asking four passengers to wear face masks, which are required on French public transport. Monguillot was then verbally assaulted, pushed off the bus and violently beaten and kicked in the head.

His death was announced July 10 after he had been hospitalized in critical condition. Four men have been arrested and charged in connection with the fatal assault.

Florida tops daily record for new cases by any state as school year, convention looms

Florida on Sunday reported the largest single-day increase in positive coronavirus cases in any state since the beginning of the pandemic. The 15,299 additional cases represents almost 3,700 more than any state had reported in a single day. Last week was Florida’s deadliest: almost 500 fatalities.

Two months ago, Florida was one of the first states to begin reopening its economy. One month ago, fewer than 5% of tests came up positive on a daily average. Last week, the daily average exceeded 19%.

Coming next month is the new school year, which in many parts of Florida begins Aug. 10. Gov. Ron DeSantis has cited the “huge, huge costs” of not providing in-person schooling, ordering schools to offer five-day-per-week, in-classroom education.

“The risk of corona, fortunately, for students is incredibly low,” he said.

Also next month, the Republican National Convention is scheduled for Jacksonville. The GOP is considering moving the convention to an outdoor stadium, The Washington Post reported last week. 

Long lines for COVID-19 tests, stressed labs delay results as demand spikes

America’s testing system is once again strained and labs are struggling to keep pace as coronavirus rages faster than ever in the South and West.

The number of daily tests reached an all-time high of more than 719,000 on July 3 and averaged nearly 640,000 each day this past week, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. 

Because of this increase, large and small labs running 24/7 can’t process samples quickly enough from millions of Americans tested every week.

Testing centers in Sunbelt cities such as Tallahassee, Florida, and Phoenix routinely attract long lines and at times must turn away people. Other than hospital patients, whom labs are prioritizing, delays are widespread in the South and West at drive-thru and walk-up testing centers, urgent care, doctor’s offices and government-supported testing sites.

– Ken Alltucker

More on the coronavirus from USA TODAY

Where a face mask is required: Many governors are instituting or renewing orders requiring people to wear face coverings in public as cases continue to rise. Is your state on the list? See it here. 

Coronavirus Watch: We have a few ways for you to stay informed. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here, and come together and share the latest information about the coronavirus, coping with lifestyle changes and more by joining our Facebook group.

Where are states on reopening? Some are taking preemptive measures to postpone further phases of their reopening, while others have rolled back their phases to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. See the list.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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