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Coronavirus infections are on the rise in 42 states, with the national total passing the 3 million mark. In the hardest-hit areas, including parts of Florida, intensive care units are filled to the brim with patients, and communities are grappling with testing shortages and delays. But some officials, including President Trump, are downplaying the crisis and pushing to reopen. John Yang reports.
New COVID-19 infections are on the rise in 42 states, as the total number of U.S. cases nears the three million mark.
In the hardest-hit areas, hospital intensive care units are filled to the brim with patients, and communities are grappling with testing shortages and delays.
John Yang begins our coverage.
The burden of new COVID-19 cases is still growing, with 28 states today reporting spikes in hospitalizations. In Florida, more than four dozen hospitals say their intensive care units are completely full.
Governor Ron DeSantis dug deep into those numbers for a silver lining.
Gov. Ron DeSantis:
As we have seen more traffic into hospitals in the past few weeks, we're seeing a smaller number of residents of longer-term care facilities admitted.
And so, look, we obviously would like to not be here, not to have anyone admitted, but those residents of the long-term care facilities, and when they are admitted, they have a much, much higher rate of mortality. And so to see that decline is something that's very, very positive.
Cases in Florida have now topped 300,000, but that hasn't stopped officials from pushing to reopen the state.
On Monday, the state's education commissioner ordered schools to reopen in the fall, a move President Trump said today he hoped will be mirrored across the country.
President Donald Trump:
What we want to do is, we want to get our schools open. We want to get them to open quickly, beautifully, in the fall.
Harvard is among many colleges and universities saying that, beginning this fall, all instruction will be online. That's a problem for international students.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says students at schools that are fully online won't be allowed to enter the country, and if they're already here, they will have transfer to an institution with at least some in-person instruction or leave the country.
It threatens the visas of more than a million students, many from China.
Today, China's Foreign Ministry tried to offer some assurance:
Zhao Lijian (through translator):
China is now closely following the U.S. moves on relevant policies and will make utmost efforts to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese students in the U.S.
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro, who from the outset dismissed the threat of the coronavirus, said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is taking hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug President Trump has touted, but has not been proven against coronavirus.
President Jair Bolsonaro (through translator):
It started on Sunday, July 5, with a certain feeling of unwell that worsened during the day on Monday, July 6, with malaise, tiredness, a bit of muscle pain and a fever.
Over the weekend, he attended a Fourth of July celebration at the U.S. Embassy hosted by Ambassador Todd Chapman. Photos of the two showed no evidence of precautions like distancing or masks. Today, the embassy said Chapman, a career diplomat, had tested negative.
Even though Brazil has the world's second highest number of cases behind the United States, it does not have a coordinated national policy to contain the virus. European countries that imposed tough restrictions early on are already eying a return to more normal life, from pubs in Britain to the newly reopened Louvre museum in Paris.
Australia, once considered a success story, is again cracking down. Its second largest city, Melbourne, reimposed a six-week lockdown in an effort to beat back a new surge of infections.
Premier Daniel Andrews:
I think a sense of I think that each of us know we have got no choice but to take these very, very difficult steps.
A recognition that the virus is far from being fully contained.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.
This afternoon, President Trump said it was ridiculous that Harvard will do its instructions online, and he accused the school of taking the — quote — "easy way out."
We will take a closer look at the reopening of the nation's K-12 schools later in the program.
Watch the Full Episode
John Yang is a correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. He covered the first year of the Trump administration and is currently reporting on major national issues from Washington, DC, and across the country.
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