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New cases of coronavirus are down but death is rate up, says FEMA

Myriam Borzee/iStockBy JON HAWORTH and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 690,000 people worldwide.Over 18.1 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 national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 4.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 155,191 deaths. Here’s how the news developed on Monday. All times Eastern:

9:57 p.m.: New cases are down but death rate is up, FEMA saysThe last week has seen an 8.8% decrease in new cases in the United States compared with the previous week, according to an internal Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News.However the same seven-day span saw a 24% increase in deaths, the memo said.There were 7,925 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. during the period of July 26 to Aug. 2, according to the document.The national positivity rate was 7.9% for the last week, down from 8.6% for the prior seven-day period, FEMA said. 4:20 p.m.: White House requiring staff to participate in random testingThe White House is now requiring random testing of those in the President’s Executive Office staff, a screening procedure that had been voluntary, a White House official said Monday.”As part of our ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of the entire White House Complex, randomized testing of Executive Office of the President staff, which has been ongoing for several months, will become mandatory rather than voluntary,” the official said.President Donald Trump has said he is tested several times a week for coronavirus. The White House also tests people who are expected to be in close proximity to the president. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who had planned to ride on Air Force One to Texas with the president, recently tested positive at a White House pre-screening for the virus.4 p.m.: Detroit Tigers – St. Louis Cardinals games postponed due to positive testsA four-game series set for this week between the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals has been postponed after 13 Cardinals members tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week, Major League Baseball said Monday.The 13 include seven players and six staff members, MLB said.Players on the Cardinals have been quarantining since Thursday and will continue to be tested daily, the MLB said.The Cardinals are tentatively still set to play the Chicago Cubs in St. Louis on Friday, the league said.2:20 p.m.: New indoor gathering rules announced in New JerseyIn New Jersey, the rate of transmission continues to climb.The rate of transmission now stands at 1.48. One month ago it was 0.87, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.Part of the increase is attributable to the number of indoor house parties this summer, he said. New restrictions on indoor gatherings will be implemented, he added.Indoor groups will now be limited to 25% of a room’s capacity with a maximum of 25 people. This won’t apply to weddings, funerals, memorial services and religious services.New Jersey has over 182,000 coronavirus cases. At least 13,971 people in the state have died.  1:25 p.m.: Hospitalizations reach new low in New YorkIn New York, which was once the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, hospitalizations, ICU patients and intubations have all reached new lows, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.The number of hospitalizations in the state has fallen to 536. The number of coronavirus patients in ICUs is at a new low of 136, while the number of intubations is at the record low of 62, the governor said.Cuomo called New York’s progress “even better than we expected.””We started reopening May 15,” Cuomo said. “Since the reopening, the numbers continued to go down. No expert predicted that. So New Yorkers are doing better than anyone else even expected.”12:30 p.m.: White House considers unilateral action as coronavirus relief package appears deadlocked in CongressWhile millions of Americans who lost their jobs in shutdowns are waiting for an extension to federal unemployment benefits, a deal appears deadlocked in Congress.The Trump administration is also considering taking unilateral action on a coronavirus relief package if no deal is reached with Congress, a senior White House official confirmed to ABC News Monday.”Unilateral action is certainly an option if the democrats continue to find a plethora of ways to say no to reasonable options,” the official said.It’s unclear what unilateral steps the White House could take without Congress.12 p.m.: WHO points to Vietnam as example of how to combat the pandemicThe coronavirus “has two dangerous combinations: it moves fast and at the same time, it’s a killer,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said Monday. Tedros said the effects of the pandemic will be felt “for decades to come.”Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, on Monday pointed to Vietnam as an example of a country that is “applying the public health tools that can bring these outbreaks under control.””Vietnam has a lot of experience in dealing with infectious disease outbreaks and what they’re doing is applying the tools,” Van Kerkhove said. “They’re acting fast, they’re acting comprehensively, and, again, they have the system in place that can bring these outbreaks under control.”People observe social distancing while waiting to be tested at a makeshift rapid testing centre in Hanoi on Aug. 1, 2020, as Vietnam records a rise in cases of COVID-19.”They’re not doing just one thing — they’re doing it all,” she continued. “They’re bringing everything together on active case finding, contact tracing, the use of public health measures, testing, communicating. And this is what we need to see from all countries.”11:18 a.m.: Florida has 4 counties with no available ICU bedsIn hard-hit Florida, 46 hospitals have no open ICU beds and 26 hospitals have just one available ICU bed, according to the state’s Agency for Healthcare Administration.In four counties — Jackson, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee — no ICU beds were available as of Monday morning, the agency said.These numbers are expected to fluctuate throughout the day as hospitals and medical centers provide updates.10:30 a.m.: NYC outdoor dining to return in 2021With the success of New York City’s outdoor dining during the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that open restaurants will return next summer, starting June 1, 2021.Open restaurants may be extended to spring 2021, he said.9:30 a.m.: Cases reported on football team as school gets ready to openAs North Paulding High School near Atlanta gears up to open for the school year, “new positive tests and potential symptoms” have been reported among football players, school principal Gabe Carmona said Sunday in a letter to families.Football practices have been canceled, Carmona said.School begins Monday with both in-class and virtual learning options, reported ABC Atlanta affiliate WSB.5:01 a.m.: Thousands take part in Moscow half-marathon amid mass events banMoscow hosted a half-marathon with over 16,000 participants on Sunday.”Many marathons have been canceled abroad and we are showing to the whole world how to continue living as normal in very tough conditions,” Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matitsyn said at the event’s opening.He said the event was to celebrate victory over coronavirus.On Sunday morning, city authorities said 664 new coronavirus infections were diagnosed in the city. The number of daily cases had been declining but consistently remains above 600 per day.On Wednesday, Moscow’s mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, said all mass events were banned in the city until Aug. 16, even though that announcement did not affect the half-marathon event.4:49 a.m.: Kosovo PM tests positive for COVID-19Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said late Sunday he has tested positive for COVID-19, though he does not have serious symptoms.Hoti, who has only been in office since June, wrote in a post on his official Facebook page that he does not have symptoms “except a very mild cough,” and will self-isolate for two weeks while working from home.3:15 a.m.: Arrests after illicit party boat with 170 guests cruises around New York CityThe owners and captain of The Liberty Belle, a large riverboat that can fit up to 600 guests with four bars and three outdoor decks, have been arrested after flouting the rules and hosting a party in New York City on Saturday with more than 170 guests on board.Ronny Vargas and Alex Suazo, the boat’s owners, were arrested on Saturday night and accused of violating a number of state law provisions.”Deputy Sheriffs intercept the Liberty Belle at Pier 36 & arrest owners and captain for illegal party: violation of social distancing provisions of the Mayor’s and Governor’s Emergency Orders, Alcohol Beverage Control Law: unlicensed bar & bottle club & Navigation Law,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.The Sheriff’s Office also said that the captain of the boat, who was not identified, was issued a summons for not displaying its identification number.This comes just a week after New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo slammed an event where The Chainsmokers were performing at a packed concert in the Hamptons, which saw audience members clustering together and outright defying social distancing guidelines.Cuomo blasted The Chainsmokers last Tuesday saying the performance was “grossly disrespectful to fellow New Yorkers” considering how hard the state fought to control the spread of COVID-19.”The concert that happened in the town of Southampton was just a gross violation of not only the public health rules, it was a gross violation of common sense,” the governor fumed during his daily press conference regarding the novel coronavirus.The Chainsmokers and those involved in the show now face potential civil or criminal repercussions, with the governor saying that violations of “public health law has civil fines and a potential for criminal liability, so we’re taking that very seriously.”1:38 a.m.: Lord & Taylor files for bankruptcy as retail collapses pile upLord & Taylor has become the latest retailer to file for bankruptcy as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on retail chains and sales around the country.The company filed for bankruptcy protection in the Eastern Court of Virginia on Sunday.”Today, we announced or search for a new owner who believes in our legacy and values,” the company said in a statement on its website. “Part of our announcement also includes filing for Chapter 11 protection to overcome the unprecedented strain the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on our business.”Just last year Lord & Taylor sold its flagship building on New York City’s Fifth Avenue after more than a century in the 11-story building.”Thank you for your support, now more than ever,” the statement continued. “Our mission is to continue to serve you, your family and your community for generations to come.”ABC News’ Libby Cathey, Katherine Faulders, Will Gretsky, Dragana Jovanovic, Alina Lobzina, Ben Siegel, Megan Stone, Christine Theodorou, J. Gabriel Ware and Scott Withers contributed to this report.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.