Coronavirus updates: Bar allowed employees with COVID-19 to continue working, officials say

Samara Heisz/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 520,000 people worldwide.

Over 10.8 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 2.7 million diagnosed cases and at least 128,740 deaths.

Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

7:18 a.m.: ‘Great news’: Trump says of increase in number of COVID-19 cases

Even as Republican-led states roll back reopenings due to the significant rise in coronavirus cases and warnings from his own government that the pandemic is far from over, President Donald Trump continues to take an optimistic tone about the increase in diagnosed COVID-19 cases.

“There is a rise in Coronavirus cases because our testing is so massive and so good, far bigger and better than any other country,” Trump tweeted late Thursday night. “This is great news, but even better news is that death, and the death rate, is DOWN. Also, younger people, who get better much easier and faster!”

However, Adm. Brett Giroir, the man Trump appointed to oversee testing, testified at a House hearing Thursday that “this is a real increase in cases” and not just attributable to increased testing.

“There is no question that the more testing you get, the more you will uncover,” Giroir said Thursday. “But we do believe this is a real increase in cases because of the percent positives are going up. So, this is real increases in cases.”

Giroir said the U.S. is not flattening the curve right now.

“The curve is still going up,” he testified.

Trump’s positively also comes the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its coronavirus death toll projections for July. Forecasts indicate that between 140,000 and 160,000 total deaths nationally are expected by July 25. The CDC forecast also suggests that the number of new deaths will increase in 11 states.

The U.S. reported 52,815 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. This week was the biggest week-over-week jump since the third week in March, when testing had just begun to increase in the United States.

5:55 a.m.: Arizona bar let COVID-19 positive workers continue working, officials say

The state of Arizona has seen an incredible rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations recently, forcing the state to pause its reopening. And now one bar is under investigation after it allegedly allowed multiple employees known to have tested positive for the coronavirus to continue working.

Varsity Tavern, located in downtown Tempe, allegedly permitted both employees and managers to continue working after being diagnosed, according to the State of Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control.

After the state agency began its investigation, the business decided to close on July 1.

Officials are still seeking to revoke Varsity Tavern’s license. The establishment has had its license suspended twice before, once in December 2018 and again in July 2019.

The Department of Liquor also alleges that the bar management knowingly didn’t notify health officials that workers tested positive, didn’t enforce social distancing requirements and didn’t enforce mask-wearing requirements.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered bars, gyms, movie theaters, water parks and tubing operators, last Sunday to pause their operations until July 27 in a renewed effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

For the fifth day in a row, Arizona has surpassed its record number of hospitalizations on Thursday, with 2,938 patients currently hospitalized. At least 89% of ICU beds are now in use in the state.

There are more than 87,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, with at least 1,764 deaths.

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