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Patients wait in line at a walk up COVID-19 testing site at A+ Academy Secondary School on June 27, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. Texas is facing a surge of new cases of COVID-19 after the state government allowed business to open prematurely. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

US COVID-19 cases top 3 million: Global virus update

Patients wait in line at a walk up COVID-19 testing site at A+ Academy Secondary School on June 27, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. Texas is facing a surge of new cases of COVID-19 after the state government allowed business to open prematurely. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases near 11.9 million; deaths exceed 544,700
  • US plans a testing surge as latest virus data hints at shift
  • New York City’s rental market is being pushed to breaking point
  • Cruise ships risk rusting away while sitting idle
  • These mistakes pushed an Australian city back into lockdown
  • Why ‘silent spreaders’ make the virus hard to beat

US Cases Top 3 Million

The number of confirmed cases in the US has surpassed 3 million, representing more than a quarter of all cases globally, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As of noon New York time, the U.S. had 3,009,611 confirmed and 131,594 deaths, the school reported.

California Cases Hit One-Day Record

California reported 11,694 new virus cases, its largest one-day increase and above the seven-day average of 8,116 daily infections. The data for Wednesday includes some backlog of cases from Los Angeles County, Governor Gavin Newsom said at a press briefing. The state had 111 additional deaths, he said.

The rate of positive tests over the past 14 days has jumped to 7.1%, compared with around 5% two weeks ago. Newsom said the state is monitoring that figure “very closely” and warned it can quickly spike into double digits. He urged people to continue to stay home except for essential needs.

Disney Parks Set to Open

Walt Disney World Resort theme parks are preparing for a phased reopening with reduction in capacity starting July 11. Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will reopen on July 11, followed by EPCOT and Hollywood Studios on July 15

In addition to limits on attendance and controlled guest density, new procedures will be in place for park entry, attractions, dining, retail, transportation

EU Situation ‘Very Fragile,’ Health Chief Says

Stella Kyriakides, the European Union health commissioner, said the 27-nation bloc must anticipate a second virus wave and prepare steps to control it.

“The situation remains very fragile and we see this in a number of member states,” Kyriakides told the European Parliament in Brussels. “A safe and effective vaccine likely remains the only permanent solution to this pandemic, but this is still some time away.”

The EU is “fully engaged” in talks with pharmaceutical companies to ensure adequate supplies for the bloc of any vaccines, she said.

No NY Schools Decision Until August

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said a decision on whether schools will reopen for in-person learning in September will be made by the state during the first week of August.

The federal government has no authority on school reopenings, just like it had no authority on states reopening their economies, Cuomo said, in response to President Donald Trump calling for schools to reopen.

South Africa ICU Beds Scarce

South Africa is likely to run out of intensive-care unit beds within four weeks, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told parliament. The scarcity of beds will come even as the number of infections, which are expected to hit a high point in August, are expected to be lower than initially projected, he said. So far, 4,831 health workers have been infected.

Iran Suffers Deadliest Day

More than one-third of 200 fatalities in Iran’s deadliest day of the outbreak were reported in Tehran alone, authorities said during an emergency meeting of the country’s coronavirus taskforce. The country has recorded 12,000 fatalities from more than 248,000 known cases.

Zimbabwe Health Minister Fired Over Equipment Scam

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa fired his health minister after he was charged with corruption related to the procurement of equipment needed to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Brooks Brothers Goes Bankrupt

Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy, felled by the pandemic’s impact on clothing sales and its own heavy debt load. Neiman Marcus Group Inc., J. Crew Group Inc. and John Varvatos Enterprises Inc. each filed for bankruptcy since the virus took hold.

Merkel Calls for EU Solidarity to Tackle Virus Risks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union needs to pull together to face the historic challenges stemming from the coronavirus crisis and changes threatening the bloc’s economic standing.

“We stand before an unknown situation of economic collapse, the worry over jobs, and for this we need the right answer,” she said on Wednesday before a scheduled address to the European Parliament. “The money we want for reconstruction won’t just be invested just to get where we were but to take a step in the future.

Virus May Deal Lasting Blow to US Consumer Spending

American consumers may not be prepared to return to pre-pandemic spending levels. More than 40% of people who spent money on movies, event tickets or at bars before the pandemic now plan to spend less on those activities, according to a new survey for CreditCards.com.

Meanwhile, more than 60% of small businesses say they need spending to return to normal by the end of the year to stay open, according to American Express data.

Virus on the Retreat in Spain

While Spain’s recent regional outbreaks — particularly in Catalonia — are worrying, the number of cases is going down in most of the country, Fernando Simon, the chief epidemiologist leading the government’s battle against Covid-19, told the Financial Times in an interview.

Trump May Ban TikTok

President Donald Trump said his administration is considering banning TikTok in the US to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus. Trump’s comments on Tuesday came one day after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said officials were looking at barring the app, whose parent company is China’s ByteDance Ltd.

“It’s something we’re looking at, yes,” Trump said when asked in an interview with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren about Pompeo’s remarks. “Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful.”

Trump said banning TikTok is “one of many” ways he is looking to hit back at the Beijing government over the virus.

Beijing Records No New Cases for Second Day

The capital city also reported zero new suspected or asymptomatic cases Tuesday, the Beijing Municipal Health Commission said in a statement.