Holiday heightens virus fears as spread accelerates » With coronavirus cases still on the rise in most states, health officials are worried about an even bigger spike in new cases on the heels of the holiday weekend.
Florida, Texas and Arizona are among the states reporting more record increases over the weekend even as many held social gatherings.
On Saturday Arizona saw a record 821 admissions to intensive care units.
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS’ Face the Nation that all of our gains against the virus in the United States have been erased.
GOTTLIEB: We’re right back where we were at the peak of the epidemic during the New York outbreak. The difference now is that we really had one epicenter of spread when New York was going through its hardship. Now we really have four major epicententers of spread: Los Angeles, cities in Texas, cities in Florida, and Arizona.
And some local governments are asking for more authority to tighten restrictions.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler told CNN that his city is on track to overwhelm intensive care units in the “next week to 10 days.” He said having enough physical beds is not the issue, it’s having enough ICU staff to man them.
ADLER: What I’m being told is that there’s not the staffing to go along with the surge. And if this is going on in Austin and Dallas and Houston and San Antonio all at the same time, we’re in trouble.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner echoed those concerns.
TURNER: If we don’t get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks, our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble.
Adler said he wants Texas Governor Greg Abbott to return more control to cities in case another local lockdown is needed.
Scientists warn WHO that the coronavirus is airborne » More than 200 scientists from 32 countries say the evidence shows the coronavirus is highly airborne. That stands in contrast to the long-held stance of the World Health Organization.
It maintains that the virus mainly spreads by droplets expelled when people sneeze or cough, but that those droplets rapidly fall to the floor.
The scientists have penned an open letter to the WHO challenging that position and asking the body to revise its guidelines.
If the virus is highly airborne, that could mean that it spreads in most any building in which the air is recirculated, even with social distancing. That could make masks necessary in all indoor public settings. And it could mean public buildings need more powerful air filters and perhaps other measures like ultraviolet lights to kill the virus.
The researchers plan to publish the data in a scientific journal this week.
India surpasses Russia in recorded COVID-19 cases » Meantime, India has reported another record 24-hour jump in COVID-19 cases.
The Health Ministry added nearly 25,000 confirmed cases on Sunday. That brings the recorded nationwide total to just under 700,000 surpassing Russia for third-most in the world.
India’s official death toll rose to more than 19,000. But with sparse testing in the country, the numbers are likely much higher.
The agency leading India’s COVID-19 response said last week that it had set August 15th as a target for developing a coronavirus vaccine. Though, some health officials are warning that India is rushing the process.
Trump, Biden appeal to voters over holiday weekend » President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden both made appeals to voters over the holiday weekend.
President Trump rallied supporters at the foot of Mount Rushmore on the eve of Independence Day. The president vowed to halt the agenda of the radical left, condemning those who vandalize or destroy statues and monuments. And the Trump campaign released a new ad criticizing those who on the left who call on local governments to defund police departments.
AUDIO: You have reached the 911 police emergency line. Due to defunding of the police department, we’re sorry, but no one is here to take your call.
Biden used Independence Day to cast the race as a battle for the “soul of America” and a chance to defeat racism. He said the United States has never quite lived up to the words “all men are created equal.”
BIDEN: We have a chance to live up to the words that have founded this nation. This Independence Day, let’s not just celebrate the words. Let’s celebrate that promise. Commit to work, the work we must do to fulfill that promise.
A recent average of national polls shows Biden leading the White House race by about 9 points.