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Latest Florida news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

Latest Florida news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT
Published: Jul. 4, 2020 at 1:23 AM EDT
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VIRUS OUTBREAK-FLORIDA

Florida sees record number of coronavirus cases in one day

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — 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. The latest count brings the total number of cases in the state to 190,052. 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 this July Fourth holiday weekend and spread the virus through close contact.

BC-VIRUS OUTBREAK

US holiday weekend adds to virus worries as case counts grow

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Florida reported a record number of coronavirus cases, the latest sign that the virus is surging in many parts of the United States and casting a pall over Fourth of July celebrations. Officials and health authorities warned people to take precautions or simply stay home on Saturday, as confirmed cases are climbing in many states. The U.S. has topped 50,000 confirmed cases for three days in a row. That's according to numbers tracked by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has more than 2.8 million confirmed cases — about a quarter of worldwide infections.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-FLORIDA

Curfews, closures as COVID-19 burdens Florida hospitals

MIAMI (AP) — Florida’s most populous county is imposing an overnight curfew and beaches and businesses are closing down again as the state’s coronavirus caseload rises with a record number of new hospitalizations. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered the overnight curfew as hospitals keep close watch on their available intensive-care beds. starting Friday night, the curfew runs from 10 p.m. to  6 a.m. and will be in place indefinitely. The mayor also ordered casinos, movie theaters and strip clubs to close. Florida reported about 9,500 confirmed coronavirus cases Friday and 67 deaths. Florida also reported 341 new hospital admissions, the biggest daily jump since the pandemic began.

BC-US-ECONOMIC MOOD IN SUN BELT

Across Sun Belt, hopes for economy give way to renewed fears

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — For residents across America’s Sun Belt — business owners and workers, consumers and home buyers —  the past three months have delivered about the scariest ride in memory. With coronavirus cases surging through the region, it’s far from clear whether the stops, starts  and bumps in the economy are over. Or are they new normal? Will the Sun Belt remain gripped by doubt and uncertainty for months or years? What is clear is that no one feels able to relax and assume the best. No one, not even the top experts, can say when a vaccine or an effective treatment might be in sight.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-911 PHOTO

Man in famous 9/11 photo dies from COVID-19 in Florida

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A man photographed fleeing smoke and debris as the south tower of the World Trade Center crumbled just a block away on Sept. 11, 2001, has died from coronavirus. The Palm Beach Post reports that Stephen Cooper died March 28 at in Delray Beach, Florida, due to COVID-19. He was 78. The photo, captured by an Associated Press photographer, shows Cooper with a manila envelope tucked under his left arm. He and several other men were in a desperate sprint as a wall of debris from the collapsing tower looms behind them. The image was published in newspapers around the world and is featured at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York.

AIRPORT SECURITY DEATH

Autopsy: Man died of drug overdose after fight with deputies

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — An autopsy report says a Black man died of an accidental drug overdose shortly after a confrontation with deputies at a Florida airport in April. Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said Friday that the county medical examiner has found that the deputies who took 29-year-old Kevon Todd into custody did not contribute to his death. Deputies at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport stopped Todd on April 9 as he attempted to breach a security checkpoint. Authorities say he had been yelling at JetBlue staff members before he rushed the security area. After a physical struggle, deputies detained Todd. Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue was evaluating Todd when he became unresponsive.

LOCATION TRACKING-WARRANTS

Geofence warrants to be tested in Virginia bank robbery case

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A controversial investigative technique is getting its first real legal test in a federal courtroom in Richmond, where a judge is being asked to toss out evidence gathered through a geofence warrant in a Virginia bank robbery. Unlike traditional warrants that identify a particular suspect, geofence warrants seek location history data from Google on electronic devices used near the scene of a crime. Police use of these warrants is exploding. Defense attorneys say the searches unconstitutionally ensnare innocent people and violate the privacy rights of anyone whose cellphone happens to be near a crime scene.

SOCIAL SECURITY THEFT

Man sentenced for collecting dead mom's Social Security

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for collecting his mother’s Social Security payments after her death. Court records show a federal judge in Orlando sentenced 54-year-old Bobby Morlen earlier this week. The Deltona man pleaded guilty in January to theft of government funds. Morlen’s mother was receiving Social Security Retirement Insurance Benefits when she died in August 2014. Her death was never reported to the Social Security Administration, and the benefit payments continued. Prosecutors say Morlen continued to access the funds, totaling $131,457, until last year. Morlen must repay the stolen money.

DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM SUSPENDED

Disney suspends college internship program amid pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Walt Disney World says it's suspending the Disney College Program indefinitely amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic. The company said in a blog post on Thursday that the internship’s participants won’t be among those returning to work when it reopens its Florida theme parks later this month. The company says it doesn't know when the Disney-owned apartments where the students lived will be reopened.  Disney said it will refund students their fees and allow participants, including recent college graduates, to re-apply. The company plans to reopen the Florida theme parks in phases starting July 11 with Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.

HOME INVASION-DETECTIVE CHARGED

Retired Florida detective charged in 1999 home invasion

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a retired Florida detective has been arrested in a 1999 fatal home invasion. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says 64-year-old William Robert Baer Jr. was arrested in Jacksonville on Wednesday and charged with murder and armed robbery. Baer’s former wife, Melissa Jo Schafer, was arrested Thursday in Jefferson City, Missouri, in connection to the case. Officials say Baer and Schafer fatally attacked Saad Kawaf outside his home in May 1999 and made off with about $30,000. Officials say DNA tests for genealogy this year led to the suspects being identified.

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