Virus update from around the country and world


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Millions more children in the U.S. learned Friday that they're unlikely to return to classrooms full time in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the U.S., teams of military medics were deployed in Texas and California to help hospitals facing increases in coronavirus patients. The two most populous states each reported roughly 10,000 new cases and some of their highest death counts since the pandemic began over the weekend.

There are investigations into how deaths are accumulated, with some newly discovered past deaths counted as occurring on the day they were reported. Also new cases may include multiple tests on the same person or cases where no symptoms of sickness were present.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out strict criteria for school reopenings that makes classroom instruction unlikely for most districts. The Democrat's rules mandate that students above second grade and all staff wear masks.

Texas gave public schools permission to stay closed for more than 5 million students well into the fall. Under the guidelines, schools can hold online-only instruction for up to the first eight weeks, potentially pushing a return to campus in some cities until November.

Most Chicago children would return to the classroom two days a week and spend the other three days learning remotely under a tentative plan outlined by officials from the nation’s third-largest school district. A final decision for fall classes for the district’s more than 300,000 students won’t come until late August.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, announced she will override school districts and require students to spend at least half of their schooling in classroom.

Several states have been reporting record numbers of COVID-19 this week, contributing to a surge in the national death rate. The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths has risen 34% from two weeks ago, while the case count in that period shot up 43%.

Texas reported a record 174 new deaths, and more than 10,000 additional cases for the fourth consecutive day. California's nearly 10,000 confirmed cases were its third-highest daily total, and it recorded 130 deaths during a week of seesawing infection numbers.

Florida reported 128 new deaths Friday and 11,345 additional cases.

In Houston, an 86-person Army medical team worked to take over a wing of United Memorial Medical Center. In California, military doctors, nurses and other health care specialists were being deployed to eight hospitals facing staffing shortages.

Some hospitals in South Carolina also were being squeezed: The number of patients with COVID-19 is increasing rapidly, while nurses and other workers are getting infected when they are off work, said Dr. Wendell James, a senior vice president with Prisma Health who is based in Greenville.

In Florida, Miami-area authorities began stepping up enforcement of a mask requirement. Code and fire inspectors now have authority that police already had to issue tickets of up to $100 for individuals and $500 for businesses not complying with guidelines to wear masks and practice social distancing.

In Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has banned cities and counties from requiring face coverings. He sued Atlanta late Thursday to prevent it from defying his order, and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she was prepared to go to court to maintain the requirement.

Globally, confirmed cases numbered more than 13.9 million Friday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, and COVID-19 deaths totaled more than 590,000.

India's total confirmed cases surpassed 1 million, the third-highest in the world — behind the United States and Brazil — and its death toll reached more than 25,000. That followed an announcement Thursday that its confirmed cases exceeded 2 million, including 76,000 deaths.

In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 10,000 health workers in 40 countries have been infected, WHO said.

In Spain, which was one of the hardest-hit countries earlier in the pandemic, health officials asked Barcelona's 5.5 million residents to stay home as much as possible to stem the virus’s spread.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that as of Aug. 1, the government was no longer asking people to avoid public transit or work from home.

—AP stories contributed to this report.


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