July 7 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 11:32 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020
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5:39 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Long Island to enter phase 4 reopening tomorrow, governor says

From CNN's Rob Frehse

Long Island has been cleared by global public health experts to enter phase four reopening, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.

As long as guidelines are followed, higher education institutions can reopen for in-person activities, as well as low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment businesses. Professional sports competitions with no fans can also take place.

Cuomo cited the resurgence of Covid-19 cases across the country, noting New York has maintained low hospitalizations and low numbers of positive case because people are being vigilant.

“However, this pandemic is far from over, and I encourage New Yorkers to continue practicing the basic behaviors—wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing—that have made an enormous difference in the state's ability to fight the virus,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“Local governments likewise have vital roles to play in enforcing state guidelines so we can keep COVID-19 at bay and continue pursuing the state's incremental, data-driven reopening," the statement added.

5:37 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

New York City Board of Health votes unanimously to reopen child care facilities

From CNN's Evan Simko-Bednarski

The New York City Board of Health voted unanimously Tuesday to rescind its April orders closing regulated child care facilities, paving the way for facilities to reopen on July 13.

The Department of Health ordered all child care providers to close on April 6 except those necessary to allow essential work to continue.

In considering the move to reopen child care, Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot noted that though there had been isolated cases of Covid-19 among staff providing health care to the children of essential workers, there have to date been no outbreaks related to ongoing child care.

Staff at the facilities will be required to wear masks, and any children over the age of five will be encouraged to do so. Children must be cared for in groups of 15 or less, and children and staff cannot rotate between groups.

Earlier Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was “crucial” to reopen child care facilities.

5:27 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Trump says Republicans are "very flexible" with how to hold GOP convention in Florida next month

From CNN's Matthew Hoye

President Trump said Republicans are “very flexible” with how they’ll hold their upcoming convention, which is currently scheduled to take place in Jacksonville, Florida, in August. 

Trump was asked by Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren if he would consider not having as large of a convention as coronavirus case numbers surge in Florida. 

“Well, we're always looking at different things. When we signed in Jacksonville, we wanted to be in North Carolina,” Trump said, according to a transcript of the interview released Tuesday. “That almost worked out, but the governor didn't want to have people use the arena, essentially. And so I said, ‘Too bad for North Carolina.’”

“And then we went to Florida,” he continued, “And when we went, when we signed a few weeks ago, it looked good. And now all of a sudden it's spiking up a little bit and that's going to go down.” 

“It really depends on the timing,” Trump said. “Look, we're very flexible. We can do a lot of things, but we're very flexible.”

6:09 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Trump says he disagrees with Fauci: "I think we are in a good place. I disagree with him."

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

President Donald Trump listens during a "National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America's Schools," event at the White House on July 7 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump listens during a "National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America's Schools," event at the White House on July 7 in Washington, DC. Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump said he thinks the country is “in a good place” with the pandemic, adding he disagrees with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s assessment that the country is still “knee-deep” in a first wave of Covid-19.

“Well, I think we are in a good place. I disagree with him,” Trump told Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren, according to a transcript of the interview released Tuesday. “Dr. Fauci said don't wear masks and now he says wear them. And he said numerous things. Don't close off China. Don't ban China. I did it anyway. I didn't listen to my experts and I banned China. We would have been in much worse shape.”

“We've done a good job,” Trump said. “I think we are going to be in two, three, four weeks, by the time we next speak, I think we're going to be in very good shape.”

The President went on to say there were virus spikes in “some areas that looked like we were going to escape, that they were going to escape, and all of a sudden it became hot.”

“But I think you're going to see with all of the things that we're doing, and with all of the therapeutics that are coming out, and then ultimately the vaccine, we're going to be in very good shape very soon,” he said.

Some background: Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Monday the status of the coronavirus pandemic in the US is "really not good" as new cases surge across the country. 

"We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this. And I would say, this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline," Fauci said in Facebook Live interview with National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins. 

Hear more:

5:19 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Sacramento closes 5 Covid-19 testing sites due to supply shortages

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

Five community-based testing sites in Sacramento, California, are closing due to supply shortages, county spokesperson Janna Haynes told CNN Tuesday.

It comes as more states are facing new constraints with scaling their testing capabilities.

The sites, operated by UC Davis, are experiencing a "supply chain issue for elements of the test kits," she said. 

The following five testing sites, located primarily in Sacramento's lower-income areas, are suspending operations until further notice:

  • Natomas Unified School District​ building
  • S​outh Sacramento Christian Center 
  • Tetteh Pediatric Health​ Center
  • La Familia’s Maple Neighborhood Center
  • Robertson Community Center

Following these closures, Sacramento Health will have one community testing site at St. Paul's Missionary Baptist Church and one drive-thru testing site. The county also has a partnership with the National Guard that resumed pop-up testing this week to support testing efforts, Haynes said. 

The latest numbers: To date, Sacramento has completed a total of 125,350 tests and 3.6% of these tests delivered positive results. Last week, however, 6.7% of tests in Sacramento were positive, county data shows.

Sacramento also remains one of the 23 counties on Gov. Gavin Newsom's "monitoring list" with 4,566 total cases and 76 deaths.

5:18 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Coronavirus cases in Georgia top 100,000

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Georgia has reached 100,470, the state’s Department of Public Health said Tuesday.

The state also reported at least 2,899 people have died from the virus, the agency said.

Georgia has become the ninth state in the country to record more than 100,000 coronavirus cases.

5:14 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

New Hampshire governor says he will not mandate masks at Trump's rally this weekend

From CNN's Keith Allen

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said he would not call for a mask order surrounding President Trump’s rally in the state on Saturday.

“We've treated all gatherings in the state, from the time the pandemic began to today, the same, whether they were the Black Lives Matter protests, whether there were protests on the Statehouse lawn, whether it's a political rally, whatever it is, everyone's always treated the same,” Sununu told reporters at a news conference Tuesday, “so to have a mask order for one and not the other isn't fair, doesn't make sense.”

In an email announcing Saturday’s rally, the Trump campaign wrote, “There will be ample access to hand sanitizer and all attendees will be provided a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear,” but has not indicated they will mandate wearing masks.

“We've heard from the Trump campaign that they'll be wearing masks themselves,” Sununu said. “Which we're very happy to see."

"You know, I expect I'll be there to greet the President when he arrives, as I always have, and I'll be wearing my mask," he added. 

Asked if he’d attend the rally, Sununu dodged, saying, “My plan right now is to be there to greet the President. I don't know if I'll be in the large gathering of the rally, I tend to avoid those types of situations as much as I can.”

5:09 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Ohio sheriff on governor's mandatory face covering order: "I'm not the mask police"

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Shortly after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said seven Ohio counties, including Butler County, will be under a mandatory mask order for public spaces starting Wednesday evening, Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones said he would not be enforcing the order.

“I want to make sure everybody understands, I am not the mask police. I am not going to enforce any mask wearing, that is not my responsibility,” Jones said. “It's not my job. People should be able to make that choices themselves. I didn't put this order out and it's getting to the point people are scared, people are calling and asking, do we have to wear the mask in our house, in our cars. It's getting kind of ridiculous at this point.”

“It should be left up to the individual if they want to wear a mask if someone's sick. I can understand the mask wearing, but for all of us to have to have your temperature taken, to have to wear a mask, where's it going to stop?” he said.

Jones added: “I'm not a scientist, but I want you to know that the police are busy, our budgets have been cut, the fire department’s, everybody has less, just in the past few months. This does not make it better. What you have is, don't call 911 because someone is not wearing a mask. If the Health Department's want to control and take care of who's not wearing a mask, let them put a little yellow light on their car, and they can stop people, and go in, they will not like the response. People are tired, they're wore out."

Jones said the issue could have been handled in a different way, adding neither he nor any of his deputies would be enforcing mask wearing by the public.

“We've got more important things to do," he said. "It's all we can do to keep up with fighting crime, locking people up and making sure they're safe and the employees are safe.”

5:06 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

US will continue to support global vaccine effort, health official says

From CNN’s Andrea Kane

Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, suggested Tuesday the US would work to make sure the world has access to a coronavirus vaccine.

Asked about “vaccine nationalism” – that is, once a vaccine is discovered, nations might try to restrict distribution beyond their borders – Birx said the US would continue to support global health efforts, as it has always done.

“We have been collaborating between Europe and the United States on development of vaccines. Obviously we're working collaboratively with our British colleagues, with their vaccine with Oxford and AstraZeneca. I think we were working together, across multiple platforms of vaccines to make sure that vaccines are available,” Birx said at an online event put on by the Atlantic Council to discuss the shaping the post-Covid world.   

“We are the largest investor in HIV, TB and malaria around the world, not only investing dollars but investing Americans around the world through our embassies, combating these diseases on the ground, working with our counterparts in nations around the world,” she said.

Birx continued: “And so, I would imagine like always, in all the work that we do both domestically and globally, we will be there on the global health front, supporting the world, in their response."