The Latest: Virus doesn’t stop annual hot dog eating contest

NEW YORK — The coronavirus put a damper on this year’s Fourth of July celebrations in New York, but some things stayed the same. Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo repeated as men’s and women’s champions at Saturday’s Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest.

Chestnut downed 75 wieners and buns in 10 minutes and Sudo downed 48 1/2 in a competition that took place at an undisclosed location with no in-person spectators. Both hot dog totals were world records. “I’m always pushing for a record,” Chestnut said before the contest aired on a live sports-starved ESPN. “I know that’s what the fans want.”

New Yorkers were urged to avoid large holiday gatherings in order to prevent a surge in coronavirus cases like other states are seeing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there were more than 720 new confirmed coronavirus cases reported Friday statewide, and 11 deaths were attributed to the virus.

New York City’s July 4 festivities will be capped by a televised fireworks display over the Empire State Building. Fireworks sponsor Macy’s said the show, to be broadcast on NBC, would feature “a spectacular display choreographed to an epic musical score.”

___

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Pubs and hair salons are back in Britain and while many are welcoming the easing of the lockdown, some still have concerns about the virus.

— An Independence Day like no other: This year, July Fourth comes at a time when Americans are more divided than ever.

— While many July Fourth celebrations across the U.S. are subdued this year, President Donald Trump has promised a “special evening” in Washington that could bring tens of thousands to the National Mall.

— Will the Sun Belt remain gripped by doubt and uncertainty for months or years? A look at the economic impact of the pandemic on business owners, workers, consumers and home buyers.

—With many U.S. nursing homes locked down to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, officials are issuing reminders that those $1,200 stimulus checks belong to residents.

___

Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

PHILADELPHIA — In Philadelphia, mask- and glove-wearing descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence participated in a ceremonial tapping of the famed Liberty Bell on Independence Mall on the Fourth of July.

Originally called the State House Bell, it became known as the Liberty Bell in the 1830s as a symbol of the abolitionist movement and has been used since as a symbol by other groups advocating for such causes as women’s suffrage and civil rights.

The bell bears a biblical inscription “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof” commissioned in 1751 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of religious freedom in Pennsylvania. The annual “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution and its Color Guard since 1969 was only virtual this year, but people throughout the city were asked to take part by clinking a glass, tapping on a pot or pan or ringing a bell.

___

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — The Fourth of July holiday weekend began Saturday with some sobering numbers in the Sunshine State: Florida logged a record number of people testing positive for the coronavirus.

State health officials reported 11,445 new cases, a single-day record since the pandemic began earlier this year. The latest count brings the total number of cases in the state to more than 190,000. A website maintained by the Department of Health shows an additional 245 hospitalizations from the outbreak.

Local officials and health experts are worried that people will gather over the holiday weekend and spread the virus through close contact. They’ve tried to mitigate spread by shutting bars statewide. Some regional attractions, such as Zoo Miami and Jungle Island, have closed. Universal Studios in Orlando is open.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez closed Miami-Dade County beaches through the weekend. Municipalities elsewhere in South Florida, from Vero Beach to Broward County, did the same. Beaches in the Florida Keys are also closed. Public beaches along Pinellas County’s 35 miles of sand are open.

___

ROME — For a fifth straight day, the number of Italy’s daily new coronavirus cases increased.

The Health Ministry on Saturday said 235 new cases of confirmed coronavirus infections were registered since the previous day. Overall, Italy’s known number of coronavirus cases stands at more than 241,400, although authorities say many infections of those with mild or no symptoms likely went undetected.

Saturday saw a sharp jump in day-to-day number of infections – 27 to 51 — in the northern Emilia-Romagna region, whose beach towns are attracting vacationers.

The Lazio region, which includes Rome, also registered a steep rise in confirmed infections, 31, compared to 11 new cases a day earlier. The city has been trying to discourage groups of young people from mingling outdoors on summer nights to drink without keeping a safe distance apart despite not wearing masks.

There were 21 deaths registered nationwide, raising the known death toll in the pandemic to 34,854.

___

ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities announced Saturday that there were 25 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, but no fatalities.

Eight of the 25 new cases involved incoming tourists, who are tested when they arrive in the country, authorities said.

The number of confirmed cases rose to more than 3,500, while fatalities remained at 192.

Eleven patients are on ventilators, while 119 have exited intensive care units. ___

BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona’s iconic La Sagrada Familia basilica has reopened its doors for visits exclusively for health workers after nearly four months of being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The basilica invited a first group of health workers on Saturday to visit the temple designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. More will be able to visit on Sunday and on July 11-12 during a reopening phase the church is calling an “homage” to doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.

That will be followed by a second phase just for residents of Barcelona. The church says it is still waiting to announce when visitors from outside the city will be permitted entry.

La Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s top tourist site, with 4.5 million visitors in 2019.

___

NEW DELHI — India on Saturday recorded its highest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases, with 22,771 people testing positive in the last 24 hours.

India has now confirmed 648,315 cases — fourth in the world behind the U.S., Brazil and Russia. It also has reported 18,655 deaths from the virus.

Of the 442 deaths in the last 24 hours, 198 were in Maharashtra state.

___

MOSCOW — Russia’s death toll from the coronavirus has risen above 10,000.

The national coronavirus task force on Saturday reported 168 COVID-19 deaths over the past day, bringing the national total to 10,027. It also tallied 6,632 new infections, raising the total to 674,515.

Russia’s caseload is the world’s third-largest, behind the United States and Brazil, but its reported deaths are lower than many other countries. Russian officials have denied speculation that the figures are being manipulated.

___

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s Victoria state recorded 108 new coronavirus cases Saturday, forcing authorities to lock down nine public housing towers and three more Melbourne suburbs.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said 3,000 people in the housing towers would go into “hard lockdown,” meaning “there will be no one allowed in … and no one allowed out.”

Residents in the Flemington and Kensington housing units will receive deliveries of food and medicine, along with alcohol support.

The suburbs of Kensington, Flemington and North Melbourne will join 36 others in being subject to stage 3 coronavirus restrictions. Residents can only leave their homes for food or essential supplies, medical care or care-giving, exercise or for work or education.

After a recent flareup, Victoria has 509 active cases of COVID-19 with 25 people hospitalized, including three in intensive care.

___

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa has announced another record daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases with 9,064, as Africa’s most developed country shows signs of strain in coping with the pandemic.

Thirty percent of South Africa’s more than 177,000 cases are now in Gauteng province, which contains Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria.

More than 2,900 people in the country have died. The African continent overall has more than 433,000 confirmed virus cases.

Categories: AP National News