Leaked White House document says 18 states are in covid 'red zone'

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Leaked White House document shows 18 ‘red zone’ states should issue mandatory mask orders and roll back reopening by shutting down bars and banning gatherings of more than 10 people

  • An internal White House report obtained by the Center for Public Integrity shows 18 states are considered in the ‘red zone’ for surging case numbers 
  • Eleven states are also in the ‘red zone’ because more than 10% of all tests being conducted in them are coming back positive 
  • The report, dated July 14, advises governors of red zone states – including Florida, Oklahoma, and Arizona – issue mask mandates, but many have not 
  • It is unclear why the document was not made public as cases in the US surged by more than 77,000 cases yesterday, shattering previous records
  • It comes after the Trump administration ordered hospitals to bypass the CDC and share data only with a secretive HHS database, drawing calls of a ‘cover-up’

A leaked White House document shows that 18 US states – including Texas, Florida and Arizona – are in the ‘red zone’ for high numbers of cases and rates of positive tests, driving experts to advise they roll back reopenings, close bars and mandate mask-wearing. 

But the Trump administration as well as governors in many of those states have remained adamant that reopening continue.

The recommendations made in the report, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, are in line with what experts like Dr Anthony Fauci have advised – but the document has been kept secret rather than shared publicly by the White House. 

It comes just a day after the Trump administration was hit with accusations of covering up the enormity of the coronavirus pandemic in the US by ordering hospitals to bypass the CDC, sharing information on hospitalized COVID-19 patients only with a secretive HHS database not available to the public. 

The secretive document deemed 18 states – Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Utah, Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada and Alabama – to be in the ‘red zone’ because they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in their population last week. 

An unpublicized, leaked White House report shows that 18 states are in the 'red zone' for surging numbers of coronavirus cases and should issue mask orders and roll back reopenings

An unpublicized, leaked White House report shows that 18 states are in the ‘red zone’ for surging numbers of coronavirus cases and should issue mask orders and roll back reopenings

Another 11 qualified for the ‘red zone’ because more than 10 percent of all coronavirus tests run in the states were positive last week. These included: Washington state, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. 

For each of these red zone states, the report recommended that local governments issue mask orders, requiring everyone to cover their faces outside their homes, limit gym and restaurant occupancy to 50 percent and to close down these business altogether in counties where the positive test rate is higher than 10 percent on a seven-day average. 

The report also recommended that visitations to nursing homes be limited in these states and all staff at the facilities be required to wear masks at all times and get tested for COVID-19 daily. 

A map from the leaked report shows that 10% or more coronavirus tests administered in many Southern counties are coming back positive, suggesting bars and gyms should close

A map from the leaked report shows that 10% or more coronavirus tests administered in many Southern counties are coming back positive, suggesting bars and gyms should close 

Mask mandates are finally starting to catch on, with governors in Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina ordering all residents to wear masks while in public. 

More than half of US states now have similar requirements. 

But several states in the ‘red zones’ specified in the report, do not. 

Florida’s governor Rick DeSantis has stalwartly refused to issue a mask mandate, even as his state becomes the new epicenter of coronavirus in the US. 

On Friday, the Florida Department of Health reported 13,837 new coronavirus cases and 156 new deaths. 

More than 654,482 people in the state have coronavirus and 9,610 have died. 

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