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Live updates: Trump turns against Birx as coronavirus cases rise in Midwest

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For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read.President Trump, in an interview that aired Monday night, said the coronavirus is “under control as much as you can control it” in the United States, although the country has reported upward of 4,689,000 cases and 152,000 deaths since February.The death count “is what it is,” he said during the interview with Axios on HBO. The Bureau of Prisons said 25 people have died in its custody this year while their requests for sentence reduction were under consideration.Read more here.In an interview that aired Monday night, President Trump asserted that the pandemic is “under control as much as you can control it” in the United States and seemingly questioned the accuracy of South Korea’s reporting when asked about the disparate death rates between the two countries.During the interview with “Axios on HBO,” Trump acknowledged that people are dying from the coronavirus, saying, “It is what it is.”“But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can,” he said. Most have argued for far more extensive testing.LONDON ­— Britain could be hit by a severe second wave of the coronavirus this winter — double the size of the initial outbreak — if the country’s test-and-trace system does not improve substantially before schools reopen in September and physical distancing is reduced, researchers warned in a new study published by the Lancet on Monday.The study, conducted by University College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, used computer models and a range of scenarios to determine the impact that reopening schools on a full-time or part time basis would have on public health.Researchers warned that a second outbreak may be prevented only by “large-scale, population-wide testing of symptomatic individuals and effective tracing of their contacts, followed by isolation of diagnosed individuals.”The scientists involved with the study estimate that around 50 percent of contacts are currently being traced using the tracking system, a figure they say is “not good enough.”“With UK schools reopening fully in September, prevention of a second wave will require a major scale-up of testing to test 75% of symptomatic infections — combined with tracing of 68% of their contacts, and isolation of symptomatic and diagnosed cases,” Jasmina Panovska-Griffiths said, as the researchers warned that a higher percentage of people with symptoms needed to be identified along with their contacts to slow transmission.Simon Clarke, minister for regional growth, told the BBC on Tuesday he believed the figure to be higher than the 50 percent noted by researchers and defended the current system, saying it is “maturing all the time.”In nearby France, the top scientific committee also warned that though the virus was under control, a second wave would very likely hit the country in the fall or winter.With the reopening of schools just weeks away, Maryland’s governor and leaders of the state’s largest jurisdiction clashed Monday over whether private schools should be able to bring students back on campus for in-person learning.Three days after Montgomery County’s top public health official said that private and parochial schools would have to stick to online teaching until at least Oct. 1, Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday sought to invalidate the county directive.Hogan (R) sharply rebuked Montgomery County for barring in-person instruction, saying local officials went too far in exercising the leeway he gave them to shut down businesses, schools and other activities amid the pandemic.Read more here.Australia shut down one of its most famous national parks on Monday after the local indigenous community formed a blockade to keep out tourists.Central Australia’s Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, home to the famed sandstone rock formation known as Uluru, borders the remote Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu. In a video he posted last week to social media, Farley wore Hokies apparel while saying he made his decision because of “uncertain health conditions and regulations, and all the other opt-outs going on in football right now.”Read more here.As coronavirus cases surge in the Australian state of Victoria, officials have pleaded with the public in recent weeks to stop ignoring self-isolation guidelines to slow the spread of infections.But despite the stern government advice, recent checks by police on 3,000 people with the virus showed that more than 800 could not be found where they should have been: at home isolating.The discovery prompted the state to impose stricter measures on citizens found to be flouting quarantine rules: an on-the-spot fine of up to 5,000 Australian dollars ($3,500) and, in more serious cases, legal action that could lead to court-imposed fines up to 20,000 Australian dollars ($14,200).“If you’re not at home, then you will be fined,” Premier Daniel Andrews warned Tuesday as he called the actions of those failing to isolate “completely unacceptable.”Chief Police Commissioner Shane Patton vowed that those not complying with rules would be arrested, issued penalties and detained where appropriate.Patton added that there has been “a trend” in recent days among small groups of people who call themselves “sovereign citizens” and refuse to give police their personal details or wear face coverings.Victoria police will patrol local neighborhoods, with more than 1,500 officers working to enforce the state’s curfew, which runs from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Citizens diagnosed with the virus have been asked to brace for random door knocks and not to leave their houses — even for exercise.“Despite the scale of the challenge, despite the numbers, Victoria police will get to each and every one of those people,” Andrews vowed.Australia has recorded at least 18,730 confirmed cases of the virus at least 232 deaths. “But what we cannot do is bring people back to life.”As MLS heads into the final stretch of its return-to-play tournament outside Orlando, the league is taking substantial steps toward resuming the regular season in home markets late this month.The first full weekend would occur Aug. 21-23, multiple people close to the situation said Monday.However, Nashville SC and FC Dallas — which did not participate in the MLS Is Back Tournament because of coronavirus outbreaks shortly after arriving at the Disney World bubble — would be the first to restart by facing each other twice, Aug. 12-15 in north Texas, one person said.Read more here.Nearly 150 people who boldly set off on a South Pacific cruise last week are now confined to their cabins and waiting to find out if they’ve contracted covid-19.The French Polynesia-based Paul Gauguin set sail from Tahiti on July 29, embarking on a 10-night voyage that had to be cut short over the weekend when one passenger tested positive for the coronavirus.

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