At least half of all states have paused reopening or taken new measures to combat growing COVID-19 case numbers.


A day after Georgia’s governor extended coronavirus restrictions, Gov. Brian Kemp filed a lawsuit against the Atlanta City Council and the mayor to block the city from enforcing its face mask mandate.

“This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times,” Kemp said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms responded by citing the number of COVID-19 deaths and cases in the state. “A better use of tax payer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing,” Bottoms said on Twitter.

A new report from the Center for Public Integrity citing an unpublicized July 14 document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force shows that Nevada is in the ‘red zone’ for COVID-19 cases. 

Some recent developments: 

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is banning U.S. cruises until October.
  • The state of Washington is limiting gatherings of more than 10 people in counties that are in the third phase of reopening. The previous limit was 50 people.
  • Target, CVS and Publix joined the list of store chains requiring masks.

📈 Today’s stats: The U.S. has surpassed 3.5 million cases with over 138,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been 13.8 million cases and more than 590,000 deaths.

📰 What we’re reading: Can you get infected with COVID-19 twice? Experts say possibility is ‘certainly real.’

Washington state limits gatherings of more than 10 people

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a limit at gatherings in 17 counties that are in the third phase of reopening as the state sees a rise in COVID-19 cases. 

Inslee said Thursday that no more than 10 people can gather in those counties. The previous limit was 50 people.

“The steps are necessary to slow down the spread of COVID-19. The unfortunate truth is that we can’t let our guard down, even as we engage in more activities,” Inslee said in a news release

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The order, which goes into effect Monday, comes after state officials reported Thursday a record number of over 1,000 COVID-19 cases in one day. Infections continue to increase in the state. More than 44,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Washington state and about 1,400 have died.

White House document: Nevada is in ‘red zone’ for COVID-19 cases

Nevada has landed in the “red zone” for COVID-19 cases. That’s according to a new report from the Center for Public Integrity citing an unpublicized July 14 document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

A state reaching “red zone” status means there were more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people last week. Nevada had 173 new cases per 100,000 population in the past week, compared to a national average of 119 per 100,000.

Cases in Clark County – home of the Las Vegas Strip – put Nevada in the red zone. “Las Vegas continues to have concerning rise in cases,” the report says.

– Ed Komenda, Reno Gazette Journal

Florida sets another daily record for COVID-19 deaths

For the second time this week, Florida set a new record Thursday by reporting 156 deaths from COVID-19, with an additional 13,965 cases overnight also proving the state’s second-highest daily increase.

The death toll surpasses Tuesday’s 132 reported fatalities. Overall coronavirus cases now have reached 315,775 in Florida, with 4,677 deaths.

While the U.S. Labor Department reported that another 129,408 Floridians filed for unemployment last week, third highest in the nation, there is rising pressure to further restrict Florida’s economy, a step that Miami-Dade County officials say they could enact locally in coming weeks.

– John Kennedy, Florida Capital Bureau

Arizona extends pandemic moratorium on evictions until Oct. 31

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will extend eviction protections for tenants affected by COVID-19 through Oct. 31, the Republican leader announced Thursday, less than a week before his original moratorium was set to expire.

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The extension isn’t as generous as the one sought by housing advocates, who wanted protections for renters through the end of the year. But it will give tenants who’ve lost jobs or become ill an additional three months to catch up on payments and seek community assistance — something Ducey called “the right thing to do for public health and our economy.”

More than 330,000 Arizonans have received unemployment insurance benefits to date, and checks are expected to drop to $240 or less after the weekly $600 federal benefit runs out on July 25.

– Maria Polletta and Catherine Reagor, Arizona Republic

Georgia governor sues Atlanta mayor over face mask order

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is suing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council for mandating face masks in public as the state sees a rise in COVID-19 cases.

The lawsuit, filed late Thursday, argues that Bottoms overstepped her authority and must follow Kemp’s executive orders under state law. 

“Governor Kemp must be allowed, as the chief executive of this state, to manage the public health emergency without Mayor Bottoms issuing void and unenforceable orders which only serve to confuse the public,” the lawsuit states.

Bottoms took to Twitter to cite coronavirus numbers  in the state in response to the lawsuit. “3104 Georgians have died and I and my family are amongst the 106k who have tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, I have been sued by @GovKemp for a mask mandate. A better use of tax payer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing,” Bottom said.

McEnany: ‘Science should not stand in the way’ of schools reopening

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday emphasized that schools reopening this fall shouldn’t be contingent on science surrounding coronavirus, but then claimed the “science is on our side here” as the pandemic continues unabated.

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In response to a question about what President Donald Trump would say to parents who have kids in school districts that may be online-only, McEnany said: “The president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open. And when he says open, he means open in full, kids been able to attend each and every day at their school.

“The science should not stand in the way of this,” she added, saying it is “perfectly safe” to fully reopen all classrooms. 

– Savannah Behrmann

Cruises will not sail in US waters until October after CDC extends its ‘no-sail’ order

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced an additional extension to their “no-sail order” which is now set to expire on Sept. 30. 

The order will remain in effect until the end of September unless the CDC director rescinds or modifies the order or the secretary of Health and Human Services declares that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency, according to the CDC’s announcement.

Previously, the CDC’s order had been set to expire on July 24. 

– Morgan Hines

More on the coronavirus from USA TODAY

Where a face mask is required: Many governors are instituting or renewing orders requiring people to wear face coverings in public as cases continue to rise. Is your state on the list? See it here. 

Coronavirus Watch: We have a few ways for you to stay informed. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here, and come together and share the latest information about the coronavirus, coping with lifestyle changes and more by joining our Facebook group.

Where are states on reopening? More than half of all states, including California and Michigan, have paused reopening plans or are taking steps to halt the spread of COVID-19. Here’s the list.

Contributing: The Associated Press


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