Biden tweets message of support for Trump, first lady

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The Houston Chronicle’s Live Updates blog documents the latest events in the coronavirus outbreak in the Houston area, the state of Texas and across the U.S. with a focus on health and economic impacts.

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Total coronavirus cases:

• 778,181 cases in Texas, including 16,102 deaths.

• 198,933 in the Houston region, including 3,470  deaths.

• More than 7.2 million in the U.S., including 207,791 deaths. Click here to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and the latest coronavirus case counts.

• More than 34.3 million in the world, with over 1,023,708 million deaths. More than 23.8 million people have recovered. You can view the worldwide totals here.

Resources on COVID-19 and Texas’ reopening: Use our interactive page to track the spread of cases through Harris County and the rest of Texas. For a detailed look at our state, check out the Chronicle’s Texas Coronavirus Map. To get regular updates on our coverage, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.

Latest updates from today:

8:30 a.m. U.S. stock futures and Asian shares fell Friday after President Donald Trump said he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the new coronavirus, AP Business reports.

The future contracts for both the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials dropped nearly 2% but were trading 1.2% lower several hours later. Oil prices tumbled about 3%.

A statement issued by Trump’s doctor saying both he and his wife were well and that he would continue his duties appeared to calm the markets’ reaction.

Beyond potential political developments, investors will be watching for job figures due out Friday. Data released Thursday painted a mixed picture for the economy, with one report showing the number of workers filing for unemployment benefits last week fell to 837,000 from 873,000. That was less than economists expected, but incredibly high compared with before the pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued their talks  to send more cash to Americans, restore jobless benefits for laid-off workers and deliver assistance to airlines and other industries hit particularly hard by the pandemic on Thursday. But no breakthrough arrived before stock trading ended on Wall Street.

8:24 a.m. Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, tweeted a message of support Friday morning for President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump after they tested positive for the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that the Trump campaign never alerted the Biden campaign that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus at Tuesday’s debate in Cleveland.

8:14 a.m. President Donald Trump had a busy schedule in the week leading up to testing positive for the coronavirus, including a Rose Garden event, traveling to Cleveland for the the first debate of the presidential campaign, and traveling to Minnesota for a private fundraiser, followed by an outdoor rally, according to the Associated Press.

White House aide Hope Hicks, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, was part of a large entourage that traveled to Ohio with Trump aboard Air Force One for the debate, including members of the Trump family. Trump’s adult children and senior staff did not wear masks during the debate, which violated host rules.

Hicks was among the White House aides who accompanied Trump on the trip to Minnesota. She reported feeling unwell on the return trip and isolated herself aboard Air Force One.

After Hicks tested positive for the virus on Thursday, Trump flew to his Bedminster resort in New Jersey for another private fundraiser. Several aides who were in proximity to Hicks scrapped plans to accompany Trump.

Trump announced in an evening interview on Fox News Thursday that he and the first lady were being tested for the coronavirus. He later tweeted that they will “begin our quarantine process!” Early Friday morning, he tweeted that he and the first lady tested positive.

7:53 a.m. President Donald Trump said early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, just one month before the election, the Associated Press reports.

Trump, who has spent much of the year downplaying the threat of a virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans, said he and Mrs. Trump were quarantining. The White House physician said the president is expected to continue carrying out his duties “without disruption” while recovering.

Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and did not appear visibly ill. Trump is 74 years old, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has infected more than 7 million people nationwide.

The president’s physician said in a memo that Trump and the first lady, who is 50, “are both well at this time” and “plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”

Trump’s announcement came hours after he confirmed that Hope Hicks, one of most trusted and longest-serving aides, had been diagnosed with the virus Thursday. Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday evening, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private information. She was isolated from other passengers aboard the plane, the person said.

There was no immediate comment from Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign on whether the former vice president had been tested since appearing at the debate with Trump or whether he was taking any additional safety protocols.

7:24 a.m. Texas COVID-19 cases increased Thursday by 3,704, bringing the statewide total to 778,181, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of state data.

Another 113 deaths brings the fatality count to 16,102.

Dallas County did not post new case numbers because of an update on their data platform. Thursday’s new cases were higher than 54 percent of all other days in the pandemic, while new deaths were higher than 75 percent.

The state’s seven-day rolling average for new cases is now at 4,239.

The Houston region’s case count is 198,933, up 1,083 from yesterday. Harris County added 849 cases today, and is at 143,530 cases total. There have been 3,470 deaths in the Houston region, up 14 from Wednesday.

The positive test rate is now at 6.45 percent. The rolling average of viral tests is at 60,214.

Statewide, there were 3,190 patients hospitalized for lab-confirmed COVID-19. There are 58,381 total staffed hospital beds, 12,029 beds

available and 1,214 ICU beds available. There are 7,465 ventilators available.

– Jordan Rubio 

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