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July 7 coronavirus news

What you need to know

  • Brazil’s president has tested positive for Covid-19. The country is second only to the US in numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths.
  • At least 24 US states have paused or rolled back reopening plans as Covid-19 cases continue to rise. In hard-hit Florida, some hospital ICUs have hit capacity.
  • International students in the US may have to leave the country if their universities switch to online-only courses, immigration officials announced.
  • Australia closed the inter-state border between Victoria and NSW as result of a steep rise in Melbourne’s Covid-19 cases.
Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has ended for the evening.
7:57 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Study finds coronavirus associated with neurological complications

Coronavirus can lead to neurological complications, including delirium, brain inflammation, stroke and nerve damage, a new University College London (UCL) study published Tuesday in the journal Brain finds.

While respiratory symptoms are commonly associated with coronavirus, for some patients in the study, neurological complications were the first and most significant indication that they had contracted the virus.

Of 43 confirmed or suspected Covid-19 patients at the University College London Hospital, researchers identified 10 with delirium, 12 with brain inflammation, eight with cases of stroke and eight with nerve damage.

They include a woman who seemed to recover and was sent home. “She was disoriented and displayed ritualistic behavior such as putting her coat on and off repeatedly. She reported visual hallucinations, seeing lions and monkeys in her house,” the researchers wrote. One patient died of brain-destroying encephalitis.

The researchers called for close surveillance of the rare and sometimes fatal inflammatory disorder called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). They identified nine cases of ADEM, which is prevalent in children, over a five-week period.

“In Greater London… we would expect to see this incidence of cases in five months, which indicates that COVID-19 is associated with an increased incidence of ADEM,” the study states.

The study’s findings suggest that neurological complications were likely a result of immune response to the virus, rather than a result of the virus directly attacking the brain. Researchers say these neurological complications are similar to those related to other coronavirus outbreaks: SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012.

“Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage Covid-19 can cause,” said UCL researcher Ross Paterson. “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes.”

He added that people recovering from the virus should seek professional health advice if they experience neurological symptoms.

The researchers said their study was biased toward severe disease. They called for additional research to assess the neurological and neuropsychological consequences of Covid-19.

Outside experts agree that more research is needed on the topic.

“We’ve already seen that some people with COVID-19 may need a long rehabilitation period – both physical rehabilitation such as exercise, and brain rehabilitation,” said David Strain, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School. “We need to understand more about the impact of this infection on the brain.” 

Watch:

7:57 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Colombia extends coronavirus lockdown measures

A health worker conducts a coronavirus test on July 6 in Bogota, Colombia. Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Colombia's President Ivan Duque extended lockdown measures until at least August 1, as the country reported a record number of new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

The announcement on Colombian television came as the country registered 149 new coronavirus deaths and 4,213 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. This is the highest daily count of new cases since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data collected by the Colombian Ministry of Health.

Duque also announced that mayors in cities less impacted by the pandemic will have the authority to allow partial reopenings of restaurants, museums and churches starting July 15.

The government will also evaluate allowing domestic flights in selected cities, Duque said.

Colombia has recorded a total of 124,494 coronavirus cases, according to the Ministry of Health. The majority of cases are reported in the capital city of Bogota and the northern Atlantic coast.

7:49 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Washington state governor blames Southern states reopening early for late Covid-19 test results

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at a news conference on June 23 at the Capitol in Olympia, Washington. Ted S. Warren/AP

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the reason Covid-19 test results have been delayed is because of Southern states reopening early.

Inslee said there were a couple of reasons for the delay including an “analytical choke point from the labs."

"The labs have been slower. Why? It's because governors in southern states listened to Donald Trump and they reopened their businesses way too fast and they let thousands of people rush into bars, and as a result, they've got massive surges of pandemics in Texas and Florida and other states, and as a result they put pressure on the analytical labs to get all these testing done. So we wish that was not the case. We wish them well in these Southern states," he said.

Inslee said the federal government never provided an adequate number of necessary test kits to solve the testing problem and when they finally got the test kits, they were mismatched or not packaged properly.

7:31 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

South Dakota governor says she tested negative for Covid-19 after Fourth of July event

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem waves to supporters at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, FridaJuly 3, 2020, near Keystone, South Dakota. Alex Brandon/AP

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted Tuesday that she tested negative for Covid-19.

Noem said she had also tested negative on Friday before meeting with President Trump. The President traveled to Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, on Friday for an early Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

Noem worked with the President and the Department of Interior to make the event happen.

“I've always taken #COVID19 very seriously, but South Dakota trusted our citizens to exercise their personal responsibility to keep themselves and their loved-ones safe,” Noem tweeted
In an appearance on Fox News Tuesday, Noem was asked about also coming into contact with Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. who has tested positive for Covid-19, over the weekend. Noem responded saying “we need to remember that Kimberly was asymptomatic and the science of the virus tells us that it’s very, very difficult to spread the virus when you’re asymptomatic.”

“I was tested again today, which came back negative again. So I appreciated the opportunity to spend time talking about the issues that were important to South Dakota in my time with Secretary Bernhardt, and with the President and look forward to bringing more solutions to my state,” the governor added.

7:42 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Texas Republicans have no plans to cancel in-person convention in Houston 

Republican Party of Texas State Chairman James Dickey said the party has no plans to cancel the GOP in-person convention scheduled July 16 in Houston. 

He made the announcement in a live video.

The state Republican Executive committee voted to proceed with an in-person convention, according to Dickey. The convention attendees will be required to wear masks when it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing. 

Dickey said they have "a path forward" to holding an online convention if the need arises in an emergency. "It has always been a backup plan," Dickey said. 

Dickey said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner pressured them to cancel the in-person GOP convention that is set to take place on July 16 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

"Yesterday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner held a press conference pressuring us to cancel our convention, trying to shame us and our sponsors. He listed a litany of demands," Dickey said. "We have already put in place most of those things because we've been working hard in glove with his staff at the Convention Center on these exact precautions for weeks."

Thermal checks at entrances, limited entryways, masks, and spaced out seating are some of the safety measures that would be implemented, according to Dickey. 

"We had already incurred significant additional costs to ensure that each room would be at no more than 50% capacity. And based on current reservations, we expected to average closer to 30% capacity, allowing for safe social distancing even in the caucus sessions," Dickey said. "Each meeting area will be deep cleaned after each gathering to prepare for the next meeting."

On Monday, Turner, speaking at a news conference, said he was sending a letter to the executive director of the Republican Party of Texas to "strongly encourage" the GOP to cancel its in-person convention. Turner said hosting the convention in Houston at this time was a "bad idea." 

Hear more:

7:24 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Columbia University will welcome back 60% of undergraduate students in the fall

Columbia University in New York Shutterstock

Columbia University will welcome back 60% of undergraduates in Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, University President Lee Bollinger announced in an email.

Most classes will still be taught remotely or in a hybrid form, and faculty are being given a choice whether they want to teach in person, online or a combination of the two.

The school will adopt a three term calendar, with a fall term beginning on September 8, as scheduled and going all remote after Thanksgiving, a spring term beginning in early January and a summer term from May 3 to June 18.

Similar to several other Ivy League schools, different classes will be on campus at different times, with first and second years invited for the fall term, third and fourth years invited for the spring term.

Additional safety measures include requiring face masks at all times unless in a private room with a door closed and requiring a test for every individual returning to campus, along with a daily symptom self-check.

6:57 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

More than 45,000 new coronavirus cases reported in Brazil

A lab technician holds coronavirus test samples at Hermes Pardini Lab on July 7 in Vespasiano, Brazil. Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

Brazil recorded 45,305 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday after its own president also tested positive for the virus, according to Brazil's health ministry.

The country now has a total of 1,668,589 coronavirus cases.

The ministry also recorded 1,254 new deaths from the virus, more than doubling the previous daily increase. Brazil's death toll stands at 66,741. 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro himself announced his diagnosis, speaking on Brazilian TV channels Tuesday.

"Everyone knew that it would reach a considerable part of the population sooner or later. It was positive for me," he said, referring to the Covid-19 test he took Monday.

Bolsonaro downplayed the virus as a "little flu" for months. He has often appeared in public and at rallies without a face mask, even hugging supporters.

Brazil is second only to the United States in numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths.

Watch:

6:24 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Bars ordered to close again in Shelby County, Tennessee

The Shelby County Health Department in Tennessee ordered bars to close again, citing an uptick in Covid-19 cases. The county includes Memphis, one of the state's largest cities. 

The order goes into effect Wednesday night at midnight. 

"Our numbers have trended upward since Memorial Day, and that has continued," said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County's Health Department director, at a news conference Tuesday announcing the new directive. 

Restaurants for now can remain open until 10 p.m., but she said the department is looking to reduce capacity there, as well as at gyms. 

Shelby County saw more than 12,000 new Covid 19 cases on Monday, 146 more than the day before, according to Haushalter. 

"As of this morning, we have our highest number of people hospitalized with Covid," she said, warning the county is "moving toward a surge."

A team including members from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Federal Emergency Management Agency spent three days in the area last week, one of 10 regions selected by federal officials for intervention toward slowing Covid-19 growth. Haushalter said the team sent a report to her Tuesday morning, and the new restrictions are based in part on the recommendations from that report.

6:15 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Texas Education Agency says parents have option to choose remote learning for their children

The Texas Education Agency said in a statement parents have the option to choose remote learning for their children.

"The Texas Education Agency today announced comprehensive guidelines for students to return to school, prioritizing their health and safety while ensuring that students receive quality instruction, whether they choose to learn in a safe on-campus environment or remotely," the statement said. "The guidance laid out today will provide flexibility to both parents and districts to make decisions based on the ever-changing conditions of this public health crisis." 

On-campus learning will be available to all parents who would like their students to learn in school, according to the statement.

The agency will also have the option to choose remote learning," initially, or at any point as the year progresses."

Masks will be required while in school buildings and there will be some mandated health procedures for every school in the state, according to the statement.

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