July 7 coronavirus news

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12:50 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

WHO says experts will travel to China this weekend to study origins of Covid-19

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on July 3.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on July 3. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

World Health Organization scientists and experts are scheduled to travel to China this weekend to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on Tuesday.

"Over the past few months, there has been a lot of discussion about the origins of Covid-19. All preparations have been finalized and WHO experts will be traveling to China this weekend to prepare scientific plans with their Chinese counterparts for identifying the zoonotic source of the disease," Tedros said during a briefing in Geneva.

"The experts will develop the scope and terms of reference for a WHO-led international mission. The mission objective is to advance the understanding of animal hosts for Covid-19 and ascertain how the disease jumped between animals and humans," Tedros said. "WHO will continue to communicate the latest scientific advances to the media and general public as we have them." 

Specifically, experts will be seeking to trace the narrative of how the coronavirus might have spread from the wild to possibly farm animals to humans, said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Program.

"It takes time," he said on Tuesday.

"There is the wild animal kingdom, there is the farmed animal kingdom, there are interfaces with humans," Ryan said. "So we need to understand the track of this virus."

 

12:34 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Covid-19 cases up 20% last week in the Americas, organization says 

From CNN’s Tim Lister

Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Americas, speaks during a press briefing at PAHO Headquarters in Washington, DC, on March 6.
Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Americas, speaks during a press briefing at PAHO Headquarters in Washington, DC, on March 6. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

There were 22,000 deaths from the coronavirus throughout the Americas last week alone. That was 9% higher than the previous week, said Dr. Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

The Americas also saw a daily average of more than 100,000 new cases last week – nearly 20% higher than the previous week.

Speaking at PAHO’s weekly briefing on the pandemic, Etienne said there have now been 267,000 coronavirus deaths across the Americas, and the trends of infection were accelerating in several US states as well as much of Central and South America.

She went on to say there was a concerning trend of infections reaching areas that had not been much affected until now, just as people were becoming fatigued with precautions and restrictions on their movement. The pandemic, she said, was moving from some of the biggest cities to smaller towns that had fewer facilities such as intensive care. 

Two months ago, US accounted for about 75% of all cases in the Americas, Etienne said. Now more than 50% of cases were being registered in Latin America and the Caribbean, with Brazil alone accounting for a quarter of cases. 

Etienne expressed concern about unsafe working conditions and the lack of protective equipment for frontline health workers in much of the region. She reiterated the need for better tracing of the virus. The impact of the virus had been worsened by inequality, political division and under-investment in health care.

She predicted the next six months would not be any easier than the last: many hospitals were approaching capacity and the treatment of other conditions and diseases was being disrupted. Etienne noted that maternal mortality was increasing, as access to prenatal services was becoming more difficult.

She also expressed concern that the treatment of other health problems common in Latin America – from tuberculosis to diabetes – was being affected by problems in securing supplies and accessing health facilities.

 

12:30 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Rising Covid-19 cases are "not purely as a result of testing," WHO official says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

WHO Health Emergencies Programme head Michael Ryan attends a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on July 3.
WHO Health Emergencies Programme head Michael Ryan attends a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on July 3. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The number of Covid-19 cases around the world is continuing to climb and the increases are "not purely as a result of testing," a World Health Organization official said on Tuesday.

"What is a concern is the fact that the disease numbers are increasing day by day," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said during a briefing in Geneva.

"In April and May we were dealing with 100,000 cases a day. Today we’re dealing with 200,000 cases a day — and that is not purely as a result of testing," Ryan added. "This epidemic is accelerating."

Ryan added that the rise in case numbers has occurred at the same time the global Covid-19 death rate has remained stable, which suggests that frontline doctors and nurses may be treating patients earlier and saving more lives. 

The latest numbers: There have now been more than 11 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 535,000 deaths around the world due to the pandemic, according to WHO.

"The outbreak is accelerating and we have clearly not reached the peak of the pandemic," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during Tuesday's briefing.

"While the number of deaths appears to have leveled off globally, in reality some countries have made significant progress in reducing the number of deaths, while in other countries deaths are still on the rise," Tedros said. "Where there has been progress in reducing deaths, countries have implemented targeted actions toward the most vulnerable groups, for example those people living in long-term care facilities." 

12:18 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Miami-area gyms and outdoor dining can stay open as coronavirus cases spike

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt in Miami

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez speaks during a press conference in Miami on June 8
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez speaks during a press conference in Miami on June 8 Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez said he met with the county’s Wellness Group Tuesday morning and came to a compromise to keep gyms and fitness studios open during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a tweet from the mayor’s official Twitter account.

People inside "must wear a mask or do strenuous training outside staying 10 feet apart w/out mask,” Giménez tweeted. 

Giménez is also slated to issue an upcoming executive order allowing outdoor dining to continue under the current spike in coronavirus cases with restrictions, according to a statement released by the mayor’s office. 

New restrictions require restaurants to include tables of no more than four people and allow for appropriate social distancing. Restaurants will be required to play music at a level that does not require shouting, to curb the emission of potentially dangerous airborne droplets from people’s mouths.

This is a partial revision of the county's decision to re-shut down some businesses. Just yesterday, Miami-Dade announced certain businesses, including fitness centers, would close Wednesday because of the spiking coronavirus numbers. Restaurants were also slated to close, except for takeout and delivery.

The mayor is expected to speak at a 12:30 p.m. ET press conference alongside Gov. DeSantis where the two will address Covid-19 updates in the city of Miami and the state of Florida. 

12:17 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Tucson mayor says Arizona coronavirus patients may have to be sent to other states for ICU care

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Tucson, Arizona, Mayor Regina Romero said that she’s very concerned about the lack of intensive care unit beds and the disorganized effort for testing and contract tracing as cases soar in the state

Romero said that ICU bed capacity is at its limit. Pima County only has five to 10 ICU beds available some days, she said. 

“Any day, we’re going to have to be sending patients to other states because of our lack of capacity,” she said. 

Romero said test results are taking too long and there’s a disjointed process for contact tracing.

“What’s happening in Arizona is a microcosm of…the direction that President Trump has led us in,” Romero said to CNN’s Kate Bolduan. “There is no coordinated effort for testing in this country, much less here in Arizona.”
“We need help. We’re in crisis,” she added.  

Romero has implemented a mask mandate in her city, but she wants Gov. Doug Ducey to put a statewide mandatory mask order in place.

“We need the governor and the federal government to come and help organize our efforts so that we can take this under control,” she said. 

12:09 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Florida reports more than 7,300 new coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

A health care worker administers a Covid-19 test at a site in Homestead, Florida on July 6.
A health care worker administers a Covid-19 test at a site in Homestead, Florida on July 6. Lynne Sladky/AP

At least 7,347 new coronavirus cases were reported in Florida in the past 24 hours, according to the state Department of Health.

This brings the total number of coronavirus cases in the state to at least 213,794. 

12:11 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Arizona reports record 117 Covid-19 deaths today

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

Arizona is reporting 117 deaths from Covid-19 over the last 24 hours, state data shows. 

The state has been setting record high daily death counts about once a week.

The previous record highs were 79 daily deaths on June 24 and then 88 deaths on July 1.

Arizona is also reporting the lowest-ever number of beds available in intensive care units today.

According to state data, there are only 167 ICU beds, or 10% of overall capacity, left in Arizona.

Of the 1,481 ICU beds being used, 869 are taken by Covid-19 patients, data shows.

12:23 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Brazilian president tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Ingrid Formanek

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro speaks at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil on June 17.
President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro speaks at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil on June 17. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for Covid-19, Bolsonaro himself announced, speaking on Brazilian TV channels Tuesday.

"Everyone knew that it would reach a considerable part of the population sooner or later. It was positive for me,” Bolsonaro said, referring to the Covid-19 tests he took Monday.

Brazil’s Ministry of Communications said in a statement that the president maintains a good state of health and is, at that moment, at the Palácio da Alvorada.

Some background: Bolsonaro had a Covid-19 test and a lung scan at a Brasilia hospital Monday evening. He told his supporters gathered outside the Presidential Palace in Brasilia after returning from the hospital, that he had undergone tests and had gotten a lung screening which came back “clean.”  

As he awaited the results of his latest Covid-19 test, Bolsonaro was being treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, Bolsonaro said in a phone call with CNN affiliate CNN Brasil.

CNN Brasil also reported Monday that the president said he was showing symptoms consistent with Covid-19, including a 38 degree Celsius fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Bolsonaro's office told CNN Brasil Tuesday that his temperature was normal.

Bolsonaro has derided coronavirus as just a "little flu," and previously appeared in public and at rallies without a mask, even hugging supporters.

He has encouraged the country to reopen, even as the number of cases rises, and has criticized local governments' efforts to stamp out the virus through social distancing measures, such as quarantine and shelter-in-place orders.

Brazil's latest Covid-19 figures: Brazil is second only to the US in numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths. More than 65,000 people have died of the virus in Brazil, according to figures released by the country's health ministry on Monday, and 1,623,284 cases have been confirmed so far.

With reporting from Sara John, Marcia Reverdosa and Taylor Barnes

This post has been updated to show that Bolsonaro spoke to CNN Brasil about being treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as he awaited Covid-19 results.

WATCH:

11:46 a.m. ET, July 7, 2020

University System of Georgia will now require masks on campus

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Starting July 15, the University System of Georgia will now require students, faculty and visitors to wear face coverings when inside campus buildings and/or when social distancing is not possible at all of its colleges and universities, USG announced on its website.

The move — a reversal in policy — comes after hundreds of faculty members at Georgia Tech sent a letter to the university system saying that the now-previous policy of not mandating masks was irresponsible and posed a danger to the health of the faculty and the community.