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US Leads World in Coronavirus Cases, Deaths

By VOA News July 07, 2020

The death toll in the United States from the COVID-19 pandemic rose above 130,000 people Monday, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. leads the world not only in terms of coronavirus deaths but total number of confirmed cases, with 2.9 million. The nation has reported over 50,000 new daily confirmed cases during the first week of July, with many states posting a record number of single-day new cases. The figures support Monday's declaration by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, that the United States is "still knee-deep in the first wave" of the pandemic.

Texas, California, Florida ponder new lockdowns

Among the hardest-hit states is Texas, which reported at least 8,700 new COVID-19 cases, a new single-day record for the southwestern state. Hospitals across Texas have reached full capacity due to the huge numbers of hospitalized coronavirus patients; the situation has become so dire in the city of San Antonio that the U.S. military is planning to deploy a 50-member team of medical personnel to help with the crisis, including emergency-room and critical care nurses.

The dramatic rise in new COVID-19 cases has prompted authorities in some states, including California and Florida, to reimpose restrictions.

In California, which reported a record 11,786 new confirmed cases on Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars in six new counties to shut down, just days after imposing a similar order for 19 counties that also calls on restaurants, movie theaters and wineries to close indoor services.

Officials in Florida's largest county, Miami-Dade, Monday ordered the closure of restaurants, gyms, fitness centers and other indoor venues. The county's mayor, Carlos Gimenez, is allowing retail stores and hair salons to stay open. Beaches in the county will reopen Tuesday after they were closed for the July 4th weekend.

Atlanta mayor tests positive, Baseball season cut short

In neighboring Georgia, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was diagnosed Monday with COVID-19. She says she has not shown symptoms and plans to work from her home office in isolation with her family.

Major League Baseball's announcement of its coronavirus-shortened 60-game schedule on Monday was overshadowed by news from the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros, last season's World Series teams, had canceled their workouts because of delays in receiving results of COVID-19 tests of their players. The St. Louis Cardinals also shut down its practice session because of the delays.

The MLB season is set to begin on July 23 with a game between the World Series champion Nationals and the New York Yankees.

Brazil's president awaits COVID test results

In Brazil, which trails the U.S. in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths, President Jair Bolsonaro is awaiting the results of another coronavirus test on Tuesday, a few days after showing symptoms, including a fever.

Bolsonaro told supporters that after taking an x-ray, the exam showed his lungs "clean."

Bolsanaro has previously downplayed the risks posed by the coronavirus, once telling supporters because of his history of athleticism, he would not worry if he became infected. His apparent disregard for the potential lethal effects of the virus has led him to challenge safeguard measures to prevent the spread of the virus, such as weakening laws requiring a face mask in public.

Brazil has over 1.6 million total COVID-19 cases and over 65,000 deaths.

Israel imposes new restrictions

Israel announced Monday it is closing all bars, clubs, gyms and public swimming pools because of a rise in cases in the country. It will also reduce occupancy at restaurants and places of worship. The country has more than 30,000 confirmed cases and more than 330 deaths.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Monday turned down an invitation to visit the White House this week to celebrate the new regional free trade agreement with the presidents of the United States and Mexico because of the coronavirus.

India ranks 3rd in COVID cases

India reported more than 23,000 new coronavirus cases Monday, pushing its total during the pandemic past Russia for third most in the world. India now trails only the United States and Brazil in terms of overall confirmed cases.

The country is closed to international travel, but the government has been gradually lifting restrictions on local tourism to try to boost the economy.

But in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, officials have extended lockdowns on businesses, monuments and other attractions in the city of Agra, including at the Taj Mahal, amid the continued spread of COVID-19.

"In the interest of the public, it has been decided that opening monuments in Agra will not be advisable as of now," the district authorities said in a notice published in Hindi.

The Taj Mahal and other tourist sites in Agra have been closed since March.

Pakistan health minister tests positive

In Pakistan, Minister of State for Health Zafar Mirza tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest high-profile government minister to contract the virus, after Foreign Minister Moahmood Qureshi announced last week he tested positive. Both men say their cases are mild.

Greece said Monday it is banning travelers from Serbia until July 15 after the number of cases there rose.

Ahead of the start of the hajj pilgrimage that typically draws 2.5 million Muslims in Saudi Arabia, the government said it will limit the number of pilgrims to 1,000.

Muslims from outside Saudi Arabia are not allowed this year, and according to new rules announced Monday, pilgrims will not be allowed to touch the Kaaba, and will have to maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 meters while performing rituals and prayers.

The heads of Japan's professional baseball and football leagues have decided to allow fans at games starting Friday. Stadiums will start with a maximum of 5,000 fans, or 50% of the venue's capacity, whichever is smaller.

In Paris, the Louvre, one of the world's most visited museums, reopened Monday. Visitors are required to wear masks and observe social distancing rules and must use hand sanitizer provided at entrances.

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