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Coronavirus updates: Newton County, Tyler County and Beaumont report new cases

Here is a look at some of the latest news on COVID-19 from the U.S. and around the world on Tuesday.

BEAUMONT, Texas — This article contains ongoing U.S. and international updates on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Here are some key updates for Tuesday, May 5, 2020. You can find more details by scrolling through the story.

Key Updates

  • US task force could wind down work by early June
  • President Donald will travel to Arizona on Tuesday to visit a facility manufacturing N95 masks. 
  • South Korea has reported its lowest daily increase in coronavirus cases since Feb. 18
  • As governments race to develop mobile tracing apps to help contain infections, attention is turning to how officials will ensure users’ privacy.
  • Look back at the Monday, May 4, blog at this link.

Latest updates:
Here are the latest updates from around Southeast Texas, Texas, Louisiana and some from the world (all times are local Central Daylight Time)

May 5, 5:40 p.m.  According to a report from the Southeast Texas Regional Emergency Operations Center, several counties added cases on Tuesday. Jefferson County added 2 cases, both in Beaumont, while Tyler County added one case. Newton County also confirms two additional cases. 

Liberty County also reported 3 new cases on Tuesday. 

May 5, 3:30 p.m. —  The City of Beaumont is allowing restaurants to use parking lots for seating area through application and approval of a temporary outdoor restaurant permit. 

May 5, 3:15 p.m. — Gov. Greg Abbott say nail salons and barber shops will be able to reopen on May 8. 

May 5, 3 p.m. — Vice President Mike Pence says the White House coronavirus task force could wind down its work by early June. Scroll down for more.

May 5, 11:25 a.m. — Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama are getting ready to celebrate the Class of 2020.

The Obamas announced Tuesday they'll be participating in three virtual celebrations for graduating seniors in high school and college.Scroll down for more.

May 5, 11 a.m. — Hong Kong will relax some social distancing measures, allowing businesses such as gyms, cinemas and beauty salons to reopen and doubling the number of people allowed at public gatherings to a maximum of eight. Scroll down for more.

May 5, 10 a.m. — Italian experts are warning a second wave of coronavirus infections will most certainly accompany Italy’s gradual reopening from Europe’s first lockdown.

They are calling for intensified efforts to identify possible new victims, monitor their symptoms and trace their contacts. Scroll down for more.

May 5, 9:20 a.m. — Free one-day mobile testing sites are available TODAY in Orange and Beaumont for those wanting to be tested for the coronavirus. Both locations will be collecting test samples starting at 9 a.m. Residents will need to call and make an appointment to be tested for both locations. Click for more info

RELATED: Free one-day coronavirus testing sites open in Beaumont, Orange on Tuesday

May 5, 9 a.m. — A new Washington Port-University of Maryland poll claims Americans are widely against reopening restaurants, stores and other businesses. Scroll down for more.

May 5, 8:30 a.m. — For the first time, Pfizer and BioNTech announced the first U.S. participants have been dosed with a possible coronavirus vaccine. Individuals in Germany were tested last week.Scroll down for more.

May 5, 6 a.m. — The British government’s chief scientific adviser has acknowledged that the country should have been testing more people for the new coronavirus early in the country’s outbreak. Scroll down for more.

May 5, 5 a.m. — South Korea has reported its lowest daily increase in coronavirus cases since Feb. 18 as the country restarts professional sports and prepares to reopen schools.  Scroll down for more.

May 5, 3:15 a.m. — As governments race to develop mobile tracing apps to help contain infections, attention is turning to how officials will ensure users’ privacy. The debate is especially urgent in Europe, which has been one of the hardest-hit regions in the world, with nearly 140,000 people killed by COVID-19.  Scroll down for more.

There have been 1.19 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 3:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been over 70,000 deaths and more than 187,000 people recovered.

Worldwide, there have been 3.63 million confirmed cases with 254,000 deaths and 1.1 million recovered.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

US task force could wind down work by early June

Vice President Mike Pence says the White House coronavirus task force could wind down its work by early June.

Pence tells reporters at a White House briefing that the U.S. could be “in a very different place” by late May and early June. Pence says the administration is beginning to eye the Memorial Day to early June window as the appropriate time to have federal agencies manage the pandemic response in a more traditional way.

Pence’s comments came as an Associated Press analysis found infection rates rising even as states start to lift their lockdowns.

The vice president characterized the discussions as preliminary.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force coordinator, says the federal government will still keep a close eye on the data when if the task force disbands.

Obamas to deliver virtual commencement speeches 

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama are getting ready to celebrate the Class of 2020.

The Obamas announced Tuesday they'll be participating in three virtual celebrations for graduating seniors in high school and college.

The graduation events include "Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition," "Graduate Together: High School Class of 2020 Commencement," and "Dear Class of 2020 Commencement Address." 

"Graduate Together" was organized by NBA superstar LeBron James and features an hour-long prime time TV special airing on Saturday, May 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern. The event will air live on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, and will be streaming on multiple online platforms.

Italian experts are warning a second wave of coronavirus infections will most certainly accompany Italy’s gradual reopening from Europe’s first lockdown.

They are calling for intensified efforts to identify possible new victims, monitor their symptoms and trace their contacts

Hong Kong to begin relaxing social distancing measures

Hong Kong will relax some social distancing measures, allowing businesses such as gyms, cinemas and beauty salons to reopen and doubling the number of people allowed at public gatherings to a maximum of eight.

Businesses must continue to observe social distancing measures, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday.

For example, cinemas are not allowed to fill all of their seats and restaurants must continue to space tables at least five feet apart and provide hand sanitizer to customers. 

Schools will begin resuming May 27, with students in the more senior grades returning first.

Italy experts warn of second wave after gradual reopening

Italian experts are warning a second wave of coronavirus infections will most certainly accompany Italy’s gradual reopening from Europe’s first lockdown.

They are calling for intensified efforts to identify possible new victims, monitor their symptoms and trace their contacts

Dr. Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Superior Institute of Health, briefed a Senate committee on Tuesday about the next phase of Italy’s coronavirus pandemic. He joined experts a day after 4.4 million Italians went back to work and restrictions on personal movement were eased for the first time in two months.

Brusaferro says the key to keeping the outbreak under control lies in the early isolation of people with suspected infection, more tests and the quarantine of their close contacts. He says it will require “a huge investment” of resources for training medical personnel to monitor possible new cases. He adds any phone app that can help trace contacts, while useful, doesn’t substitute for the actions of people.

The head of the institute’s infectious disease department, Dr. Giovanni Rezza, told La Repubblica the coming weeks were essentially an “experiment” to see how the infection curve reacts to the easing of the lockdown and production shutdown.

“We are not out of the epidemic. We are still in it. I don’t want people to think there’s no more risk and we go back to normal,” Rezza told La Repubblica.

In Italy’s hard-hit northern Lombardy, tens of thousands of sick overwhelmed the health care system. Scientists say a second wave of infection would particularly hit the south, which didn’t have many infections.

Poll: Americans oppose reopening businesses during outbreak

A new Washington Port-University of Maryland poll claims Americans are widely against reopening restaurants, stores and other businesses.

The poll said that most people, 82 percent, were against reopening movie theaters. Reopening gyms (79 percent opposition), dine-in restaurants and nail salons (both 74 percent) followed close behind.

This comes as several states are starting to lifting restrictions that helped prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Washington Post said the interviews of 1,005 random adults for the poll were conducted between April 28 and May 3.

Pfizer and BioNTech test COVID-19 vaccine on people

For the first time, Pfizer and BioNTech announced the first U.S. participants have been dosed with a possible coronavirus vaccine. Individuals in Germany were tested last week.

It was part of Phase 1/2 in clinical trials for the BNT162 vaccine program.

The Phase 1/2 study is designed to determine the safety, immunogenicity and optimal dose level of four mRNA vaccine candidates evaluated in a single, continuous study.

"With our unique and robust clinical study program underway, starting in Europe and now the U.S., we look forward to advancing quickly and collaboratively with our partners at BioNTech and regulatory authorities to bring a safe and efficacious vaccine to the patients who need it most," said Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO, Pfizer. 

British leader acknowledges testing shortfall

The British government’s chief scientific adviser has acknowledged that the country should have been testing more people for the new coronavirus early in the country’s outbreak.

Patrick Vallance told Parliament’s health committee that “if we’d managed to ramp up testing capacity quicker it would have been beneficial, and for all sorts of reasons that didn’t happen.”

Critics say Britain’s Conservative government responded too slowly when COVID-19 began to spread, and failed to contain the outbreak by widely testing people with symptoms, then tracing and isolating the contacts of infected people.

Countries that did that, including South Korea and Germany, have recorded lower death rates than those that did not.

The U.K. has recently expanded its testing capacity and is setting up a “test, track and trace” program as it looks to relax a nationwide lockdown.

Britain is one of the world’s hardest-hit countries in the pandemic, and looks likely to overtake Italy for the largest number of COVID-19 deaths in Europe.

South Korea has low daily increase as sports resume

South Korea has reported its lowest daily increase in coronavirus cases since Feb. 18 as the country restarts professional sports and prepares to reopen schools.

The three fresh infections and two more virus-related deaths bring South Korea's totals to 10,804 cases and 254 fatalities. Infections have slowed over the past month amid tightened border controls and waning transmissions in the worst-hit city of Daegu, which reported zero new cases on Tuesday. Schools will reopen in phase starting with high school seniors on May 13.

The pro baseball season started without fans in the stands, while soccer will kick off under similar conditions on Friday.

European virus tracing apps highlight battle for privacy

As governments race to develop mobile tracing apps to help contain infections, attention is turning to how officials will ensure users’ privacy. The debate is especially urgent in Europe, which has been one of the hardest-hit regions in the world, with nearly 140,000 people killed by COVID-19.

The use of monitoring technology, however, may evoke bitter memories of massive surveillance by totalitarian authorities in much of the continent.

The European Union has in recent years led the way globally to protect people's digital privacy, introducing strict laws for tech companies and web sites that collect personal information. Academics and civil liberties activists are now pushing for greater personal data protection in the new apps as well.

RELATED: Nearly every major US airline now requires face masks

RELATED: State-by-state look at how America is reopening from the coronavirus