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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5:14 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."

5:03 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann tests positive for Covid-19, his staff says

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann speaks at a flag retirement ceremony on July 1 in Jackson, Mississippi.
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann speaks at a flag retirement ceremony on July 1 in Jackson, Mississippi. Rory Doyle/AFP/Getty Images

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann has tested positive for Covid-19, his staff said, CNN affiliate WAPT reported Tuesday.

Staff members in Hosemann’s office said Hosemann told state Senate members he is positive for the virus, according to WAPT.

On Sunday, Mississippi’s House Speaker Philip Gunn said via Facebook that he also tested positive for Covid-19 after coming in contact a few days ago with a House member who had tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, Gov. Tate Reeves announced earlier on Tuesday that he and his daughters tested negative for the virus, tweeting they had “limited contact with the people who were diagnosed.” 

The governor’s press office declined to comment when asked if Hosemann tested positive and CNN also reached out to his office but has not heard back.

4:57 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

More than 10,000 new coronavirus cases reported in Texas

From CNN's Raja Razek

A healthcare worker conducts a coronavirus test at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, on July 2.
A healthcare worker conducts a coronavirus test at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, on July 2. Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

Texas reported 10,028 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, the highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases in the state.

The state has a total of 210,585 coronavirus cases and at least 2,715 people have died from the virus. 

One thing to note: These numbers were released by the Texas Health and Human Services, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project

4:50 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

New model predicts more than 208,000 Covid-19 deaths in the US by November

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

The University of Washington has extended its projection of how many people are likely to die from coronavirus in the US to November 1, predicting at least 208,255 deaths by then, based on the current scenario.   

But if 95% of the population wears a mask in public, that number would drop to approximately 162,808, the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) said Tuesday.

Last week, the IHME forecasted about 175,168 total deaths by October 1, based on the current scenario. But if almost everyone wears a face mask, that number would fall to just over 150,000.

How the modeling works: The current model includes forecasts that anticipate the re-imposition of strong social distancing mandates when deaths per day reach a level of eight per one million people, combined with widespread mask adoption, versus an approach that takes no preventive action. For instance, strong social distancing measures in Florida could cut 6,173 deaths there by October 1. 

The model continues to predict a serious uptick in deaths and cases starting in mid- to late September and October. The projections could change if there is another surge in infections among at-risk populations. Currently, states report they are detecting an increasing number of cases in younger people, who have a lower risk of death, IHME said.

Some context: So far, according to Johns Hopkins University, more than 2.96 million Americans have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections and at least 130,902 have died. 

4:41 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Connecticut sees no new coronavirus-related deaths for the first time in months

From CNN's Molly Silverman

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said that for the first time in months, there were no Covid-19-related fatalities in the state over the past 24 hours.

Lamont also said it puts the state “in a very good standing compared to just about any state in the country." 

Lamont said the state did 6,000 tests Monday and is at a 1% positivity rate.

4:50 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

Trump pushes country to fully open: "We'll never close"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

President Donald Trump speaks during an event with students, teachers and administrators about how to safely re-open schools on July 7 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump speaks during an event with students, teachers and administrators about how to safely re-open schools on July 7 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump said the US is “not closing, we’ll never close,” as he once again pushed the country to fully reopen on Tuesday.

“We’re at 130,” Trump said at an event on reopening schools, referring to the more than 130,000 Americans who have now died from the virus. “I think we could have been 2 and a half or 3 million people,” he said. 

“We’ve saved literally hundreds of thousands of lives,” the President said.

Trump was responding to an event attendee who was advocating for what sounded like a modified herd immunity. She talked about protecting “the vulnerable,” while pushing “interaction that helps to get that immunity” for others. 

“Now we’re open,” Trump said. “The vulnerable, we understand who has the biggest problem with it, and we watch that group and that age group, and also people who aren’t feeling so well.” 

He said the US has "really done it right" and now is the time to stay open, adding, "we will put out the fires as they come up but we have to open our schools."

“We’re not closing,” Trump said. “We’ll never close.” 

He went on to admit that some places will “have difficulty and they’ll do what they have to do.” 

“That will be largely up to the governors,” he said, emphasizing the word largely, “but it’s also, they’re in very strong consultation with us.” 

Trump earlier in the event said he was going to put pressure on governors to reopen their schools. 

4:23 p.m. ET, July 7, 2020

More medical help coming to the San Antonio-area to assist with rising hospitalizations

From CNN's Ashley Killough and Kay Jones

Additional medical help is coming to the San Antonio-area to assist with the rising number of hospitalizations due to Covid-19, according to the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council. 

Executive Director Eric Epley said there are 39 medical personnel from varying medical background and disciplines from Fort Carson, Colorado, coming to help staff area hospitals. An additional 200 RNs are being assigned to San Antonio, the Texas Department of State Health Services said on Monday. 

University Hospital spokesperson Leni Kirkman told CNN the staff has been stretched thin for the past few weeks and the additional help is "a big relief here." 

She said that it's easy to convert operating beds into ICU beds, but the hard part is actually getting the additional personnel to staff them.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a press conference Monday evening there are 1,168 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the city and that hospital bed availability is currently at 12%.

Bexar County has seen a 25% increase in positive cases over the past week, according to the DSHS, with 15,102 total cases reported since the start of the pandemic.  

The city is experiencing a very recent slowdown in new cases, but officials are saying it's too early to tell if the cases are plateauing.

“It remains to be seen if this decline is going to be sustained,” said Dr. Anita Kurian, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s assistant director, at a press conference Monday night. 

As CNN previously reported, the US military announced Monday it is sending approximately 50 medical and support personnel to the San Antonio area.