July 8 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Steve George, Laura Smith-Spark, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0001 GMT (0801 HKT) July 9, 2020
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7:08 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Atlanta mayor says she is signing an order to mandate masks in the city 

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Source: CNN

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she will be signing an order on Wednesday to mandate masks in her city to try to slow down the number of coronavirus infections. 

“We've seen other cities in Georgia mandate masks. And we've decided to give it a moment just to see what the governor and the state's response would be to these other cities mandating masks. I am signing an order today to do the same in Atlanta,” Bottoms told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room.

She said Covid-19 numbers are going “through the roof” and local hospitals are filling up very quickly.

“All of the experts that I’m hearing from are saying that to help slow the spread we need to mandate masks. And that is what we're going to do in Atlanta and hopefully it will help some,” Bottoms said.

6:38 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Pomona College will not welcome back students in the fall

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Pomona College, located in Los Angeles County, California, will not be welcoming back students for the fall semester and will continue remote learning, the president of the college announced in a letter Wednesday.

“This situation is not what we hoped for,” Pomona President G. Gabrielle Starr said. “On-campus, in-person education is central to our liberal arts mission. The reality is that if we had brought students back for fall, it would be under such restricted conditions that campus life would bear little resemblance to the community we cherish: No public gatherings or performances, no face-to-face meetings between students and professors, no orientation trips—the list of 'no’s' would be extensive.”

The college said that the school would be reaching out to international students in the coming days with updates on how they planned to address the guidance issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this week.

In a news release Monday, ICE said that students who fall under certain visas "may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States," adding, "The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States."

7:58 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Ivy League postpones all fall sports

From CNN's Homero De La Fuente

In this November 17, 2018 file photo, Yale quarterback Griffin O'Connor, left, tries to elude Harvard linebacker Cameron Kline (52) while scrambling for a gain during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Fenway Park in Boston.
In this November 17, 2018 file photo, Yale quarterback Griffin O'Connor, left, tries to elude Harvard linebacker Cameron Kline (52) while scrambling for a gain during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Fenway Park in Boston. Charles Krupa/AP

The Ivy League Council of Presidents announced on Wednesday the conference will be postponing all fall sports for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"With the safety and well-being of students as their highest priority, Ivy League institutions are implementing campus-wide policies including restrictions on student and staff travel, requirements for social distancing, limits on group gatherings, and regulations for visitors to campus," the group said in a statement. "As athletics is expected to operate consistent with campus policies, it will not be possible for Ivy League teams to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester.”  

The Ivy League Council of Presidents becomes the first Division I conference to postpone its fall sports, including college football and basketball until January 1. Division II’s Morehouse and other Division III schools have canceled their seasons completely.

In March, the conference faced criticism for being the first to cancel its men and women’s basketball conference tournaments because of the concerns of Covid-19, but other major conferences shortly followed suit.

6:09 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Texas reports highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day 

From CNN's Ashley Killough and Raja Razek 

A man gets tested for coronavirus at a Covid-19 testing center on July 7 in Austin, Texas.
A man gets tested for coronavirus at a Covid-19 testing center on July 7 in Austin, Texas. Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas reported 98 Covid-19-related deaths on Wednesday, the highest single-day increase in coronavirus fatalities.

The total number of Covid-19 deaths in the state now stands at 2,813. 

The state also hit a 15% Covid-19 positivity rate, a record high.

Texas also recorded 9,979 new coronavirus cases — the second highest number on record for the state. The total number of Covid-19 cases in the state is 220,564.

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.

6:11 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Brazil is not removing employees who had contact with Bolsonaro from the office 

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso

The Brazilian government said it will not remove employees who recently had contact with President Jair Bolsonaro from the office after he tested positive for Covid-19. 

Brazil's General Secretary of the Republic released an official statement saying, “There is no medical protocol, either from the Ministry of Health or the WHO, that recommends isolation measures by simple contact with positive cases.”

The government offered guidance to public employees, telling them "to seek medical assistance when they experience symptoms related to Covid-19, to assess the need for testing.”

If someone is suspected to have symptoms, the government said, “The employees are advised to stay at home until the exams results."

More on this: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an infected person can start transmitting the virus in the six days before the onset of symptoms. WHO recommends that a person who has had close contact with an infected person should spend 14 days in social isolation and away from the workplace.

Bolsonaro announced Tuesday that he tested positive for Covid-19 after having a reported fever the day before.

The Brazilian president participated in his normal agenda over the past week, holding meetings with businessmen, politicians and public authorities. But after announcing his diagnosis Tuesday in person in front of media, Bolsonaro has worked via video conferences, according to the president's press office.

5:55 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Study finds a wide variety of symptoms in kids with coronavirus

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Coronavirus causes a wide variety of symptoms in children, and targeted testing of kids may miss cases, a study published in an American Academy of Pediatrics journal finds. 

Dr. Rabia Agha and colleagues from Maimonides Children’s General Hospital in Brooklyn studied 22 children with coronavirus who were admitted to the hospital over four weeks between March and April, when local transmission was widespread.

They found that most of the patients did not have classic coronavirus symptoms, in contrast to what is seen in adults and some pediatric reports from China.

The patients had a wide variety of symptoms and circumstances. Almost half of the 22 patients were less than a year old. Fifteen patients had a fever. Nine had respiratory symptoms. Two had seizures. Sixteen had no known contact with a Covid-19 patient, and two were entirely asymptomatic. None of the patients in the study died.

The researchers initially followed guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only testing patients with fever, cough and shortness of breath, those who had traveled to high risk countries and those who had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case. As the rate of infections increased, they started testing all admitted patients, regardless of their symptoms.

Of the four patients who required mechanical ventilation, only one did not have an underlying health condition – an otherwise healthy child who suffered a cardiac arrest. Three of the patients on ventilators qualified for compassionate use of the antiviral drug remdesivir and were eventually taken off the ventilators.

Seven patients who were hospitalized for non-Covid symptoms, including bacterial infections, appendicitis and inflamed muscles, tested positive for the virus. The researchers say it is unclear how large a role coronavirus played in their illness.

The youngest patient in the study, who was 11 days old with a healthy mother, was likely infected by asymptomatic family members at home.

The Maimonides team said infection rates at a particular time and region, rather than confirmed contact alone, should drive testing strategies, noting that 41% of the patients they studied would have been overlooked because they did not meet the then-recommended coronavirus testing criteria.

“Guidelines to test pediatric patients need to be broadened and take into account that patients presenting with other illnesses may also be positive for COVID-19,” they wrote. 

“Testing of all hospitalized patients will not only identify cases early in the course of their admission process, but will also help prevent inadvertent exposure of other patients and health care workers, assist in cohorting infected patients and aid in conservation of personal protective equipment.”

5:49 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

37 football players and staff at University of North Carolina test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's David Close

The University of North Carolina has suspended the football program’s voluntary workout program after 37 players and staff tested positive for Covid-19. 

The Orange County Health Department in North Carolina determined the number of results to be a cluster forcing the Tar Heels to halt activities. The school says it administered 429 tests to players, coaches and staff with roughly 12% returning positive for coronavirus.

The university did not disclose the severity of symptoms of the 37 people who contracted the virus.

5:43 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Website to volunteer for Covid-19 vaccine trials in US is now live

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

A new website that allows people to volunteer to take part in Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials in the US is now live.

The website – coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org – will handle registration for the four large vaccine studies expected to start this summer and fall, and any others that follow.  

The US Department of Health and Human Services announced the website Wednesday, along with the appointment of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle as the coordinating center for vaccine clinical trials run by the Covid-19 Prevention Network, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. 

On the new website, anyone interested in joining a vaccine study can fill out a quick questionnaire. After registering, your information will be sent to the study site closest to you. 

Several of the questions are designed to assess how likely you are to become infected and sick with Covid-19, including your race, what kind of work you do, and how many people you come into contact with on a daily basis. Based on those answers, you might be rejected.

People who don’t get out much, and who wear a mask when they do leave home would not make the best study subjects. That’s because the point of the study is to see if the vaccine protects people from getting sick with Covid-19. If people who mostly stay home get vaccinated, and they don’t get sick with Covid-19, it’s hard to know if the vaccine protected them or if their lifestyle kept them away from the virus in the first place.  

Some context: It’s unclear exactly how many volunteers will be needed for all the vaccine trials.

In a June interview, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins told CNN each trial would have around 30,000 volunteers, but a statement Wednesday from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center said there will be 10,000 to 30,000 volunteers per trial. 


5:42 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Brazil surpasses 1.7 million coronavirus cases

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro stands with his arms crossed outside the official presidential residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8. 
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro stands with his arms crossed outside the official presidential residence, Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, July 8.  Eraldo Peres/AP

The number of coronavirus cases in Brazil surpassed 1.7 million on Wednesday after the country's health ministry recorded 44,571 new cases in the past 24 hours.

The country's total number of confirmed cases is 1,713,160, according to the Brazil's health ministry.

The ministry also reported 1,223 new Covid-19 fatalities, bringing the nationwide death toll to 67,964.

This comes after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced Tuesday he tested positive for the virus, maintaining his less serious approach to the pandemic by taking his mask off during the news conference and telling young people, "if you are affected by the virus, rest assured that, for you, the possibility of something more serious is close to zero."