State prepares for big prisoner release
As many as 8,000 California prisoners could be released ahead of schedule in an unprecedented attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 inside state prisons, with more than half of the releases expected by the end of the month. The announcement Friday by top advisers to Gov. Gavin Newsom offered stark evidence of the dire health conditions at several California prisons. On Monday, the top medical officer for the state prison system was removed from his position following criticism of inmate transfers that are believed to have led to a much larger coronavirus problem in prisons than existed this spring.
Abbott expects deaths, hospitalizations to rise
With a record 10,002 coronavirus patients in Texas hospitals Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott again warned that he expects hospitalizations and deaths to continue to rise. Abbott urged Texans to follow his statewide mask order and said more restrictions will be needed if it's ignored. Abbott extended his coronavirus-related disaster declaration for all Texas counties Friday, hours before state health officials reported 95 new COVID-19 deaths and a hospitalization record for the 12th consecutive day. Texas is in the midst of its deadliest week of the pandemic.
DeSantis defends decision to reopen
After Florida recorded another 92 people who died of COVID-19 on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said deaths would likely be in the thousands had the state not made changes to long-term care centers. He also defended his decision to reopen the state in early May — which was criticized on Thursday by Dr. Anthony Fauci. A total of 11,433 new cases of the coronavirus were reported in the state on Friday — just 25 cases shy of the one-day pandemic high reported on July 4. Of the 92 newly reported deaths since Thursday, nearly half of them, or 45, were from South Florida.
U.K. rolls back some travel restrictions
The British government rolled back pandemic travel restrictions Friday on arrivals from 75 countries and British overseas territories — but U.S. visitors will still be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Under the new policy, travelers entering Britain from dozens of countries, including former novel coronavirus hot spots, will no longer face a requirement to self-isolate. Restrictions on travelers from the United States remain in place. U.S. visitors will still be required to undertake self-isolation or risk a $1,245 fine.
Trump again takes aim at school funding
In his push to get schools and colleges to reopen this fall, President Donald Trump is again taking aim at their finances, this time threatening their tax-exempt status. Trump said on Twitter that he's ordering the Treasury Department to re-examine the tax-exempt status of schools that he says provide "radical indoctrination" instead of education. The president did not explain what prompted the remark or which schools would be reviewed. But the threat is just one more that Trump has issued against schools as he ratchets up pressure to get them to open this fall. Twice this week, Trump threatened to cut federal funding for schools that don't reopen.