Fauci to testify before Congress on state of coronavirus pandemic
Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top health officials will testify before Congress Tuesday on the state of the coronavirus pandemic. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, has repeatedly urged states to follow the “carefully thought out” CDC guidelines for reopening, warning in May that failure to do so would lead to “some suffering and death” that could be avoided. Testifying before a House panel last week, Fauci said these two weeks are “critical” in how the country addresses the surge in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona. The hearing comes two days after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned that the “window is closing” for the United States to get the situation under control.
Arizona bars, gyms and theaters closed again as COVID-19 numbers jump
Arizona residents will wake up Tuesday morning and have to adjust to the new temporary reality that some businesses that reopened after the state ended its stay-at-home order will be closed again. Arizona’s explosive increase in coronavirus cases prompted Gov. Doug Ducey to order bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to close Monday night and stay shut down for at least 30 days, until July 27. Hotel, motel and municipal pools are also closing. Ducey also said public schools won’t be able to open any earlier than Aug. 17, thwarting many districts’ plans to start the school year later this summer. Ducey added the order’s July 27 expiration date was an “aspirational goal” and would depend on how the state’s COVID-19 numbers evolved, calling the recent numbers “brutal.” Arizona has confirmed more than 74,000 cases, with 3,000-plus new cases reported on five of the past seven days.
Mnuchin, Powell to brief key House committee on pandemic response efforts
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell are set to testify Tuesday before House lawmakers to report on the efficacy of the federal response amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mnuchin will likely be asked about a couple of missteps with the massive economic stimulus program. This may include how hundreds of publicly traded companies received Paycheck Protection Program loans meant for small businesses and how more than 1 million dead people got stimulus checks from the federal government. In addition, Mnuchin and Powell could be pressed about further stimulus actions that Democrats have embraced. In the testimony released Monday by the Fed, Powell repeats a pledge that the central bank will keep interest rates at their current ultra-low levels until it is sure the economy has weathered the pandemic crisis.
EU likely to extend the travel ban for US residents
European Union countries are likely to extend the travel ban on U.S. citizens for at least two weeks, according to a resolution due to be formalized on Tuesday seen by Bloomberg. Travel between EU nations is expected to resume Wednesday, but European Commission recommendations state that travel restrictions should be upheld in countries where the situation is worse than the average in the 27 EU member countries plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. This would exclude the United States, where COVID-19 infections have surged to their highest level in two months. The bloc aims to revise the list of countries allowed to enter every two weeks.
Quarantine travel order could apply to nearly half of US population
Travelers from eight states, including California, could be added to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut’s quarantine order – a restriction that would then apply to 48% of the U.S. population. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said it intended to analyze each state’s COVID-19 data Monday night and Tuesday morning to determine which states will join the original eight subject to the travel order. The order currently requires travelers from places with high infection rates to isolate for 14 days upon arrival in New York or the two neighboring states. A data analysis by the USA TODAY Network shows that California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee may be added to the list.