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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2:48 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

West Virginia sets September 8 as target date for reopening schools

From CNN’s Alec Snyder

Gov. Jim Justice
Gov. Jim Justice West Virginia Governor's office

West Virginia is setting up September 8 as its target date for reopening schools across the state, Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday in a news conference.

The governor said the state feels ready to start now if it was safe but said he knows and believes it is too early. Gov. Justice also voiced his support for President Trump and his hopes for his reelection in the fall as part of a passing statement about Trump's desire to get kids back to school.

Positive case rates continue to increase in West Virginia, the governor said. The positivity rate in the state is under 2%, but that rate has varied from testing period to testing period. 

Justice faced pushback for using CARES Act funds toward road and highway rehabilitation and repairs across the state but defended his actions Wednesday with the justification that the state has extra money that he'd otherwise have to give back at the end of the year if it didn't get claimed.

2:47 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Florida's Miami-Dade County reports 28% Covid-19 positivity rate

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Miami-Dade County officials reported a 28% Covid-19 positivity rate on Wednesday, according to data released by Mayor Carlos Giménez's office. The positivity rate is tracked daily by the county. 

Giménez's office said the goal is to not exceed a positivity rate of 10%. The county has exceeded the 10% mark for the past 14 days. The current 14-day average is 23%, the data shows.

Remember: A positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive for the virus of those overall who have been tested.

So, as more and more people are being tested, the focus is shifting to the positivity rate — how many of those tested are actually infected.

2:28 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

New York City has more than 23,000 confirmed and probable Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Rob Frehse

New York City has 18,618 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 4,606 probable coronavirus deaths as of July 8, according to the most recent data on the city website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “Covid-19” or an equivalent.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 23,224.

There have been 214,570 coronavirus cases in the city and 55,280 people have been hospitalized, according to the city. 

The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated on July 8 at 1 p.m., according to the website.

To note: The numbers may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

2:14 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Reopening schools is essential, but "we can't just charge forward," former CDC director says

From CNN's Andrea Kane

Dr. Tom Frieden
Dr. Tom Frieden Vital Strategies

Schools must reopen, but they have to do so safely, former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden said Wednesday. 

“Education is essential. Interruptions in education because of coronavirus have cost millions of students precious little time and have slowed or stalled educational progress,” Frieden, who is now CEO of the advocacy and public health consultancy group Resolve to Save Lives, said during a livestream event to outline the organization’s blueprint for how to reopen schools safely.

“Schools are also essential for the overall educational and social development of children, as well as in the functioning of the overall economy. It's not, we think, a matter of whether to open schools but how to do it as safely as possible,” Frieden added.

However, he warned, “we can't just charge forward."

"That's not going to work, because of what happened in Arizona, Texas, Florida and elsewhere: one step forward too fast, many steps backward, and for a long time. Trying to open schools without accounting for and protecting students and staff from Covid is going to backfire,” said Frieden. 

2:12 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

There are no ICU beds available in 42 Florida hospitals

From CNN's Randi Kaye and Melissa Alonso

There are currently 42 Florida hospitals that are at zero capacity for intensive care unit beds.

This is down from 56 hospitals reported on Tuesday, according to Florida's Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA).  

On Wednesday, 54 hospitals around the state were at 10% capacity or less, according to the AHCA dashboard.

"Hospitals have the ability to convert beds and bring additional ICU beds online in a surge situation when necessary," the AHCA said in a statement to CNN. 

Boca Raton Hospital in Palm Beach County normally has 230 adult ICU beds, there are just 11 available; lowering their capacity to 4.56%, according to AHCA.

Miami-Dade County has 992 adult ICU beds in its hospitals but currently 170 are available, 17.14% capacity, AHCA data shows.

"The state has established a field hospital at the Miami Beach Convention Center with over 450 beds to allow for even greater capacity if necessary," the AHCA statement said.  

2:04 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Broward County schools could remain closed despite Florida mandate to reopen in the fall

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Despite Florida’s order to reopen schools in “brick and mortar” fashion in the fall, Broward County Schools could remain closed because Broward County is still in phase one of the reopening plan, according to Robert Runcie, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent. 

“One other thing to note is that Miami-Dade and Broward have teachers and other employees who live in the neighboring county, which means our fates are interconnected and decisions must ultimately have some alignment across counties,” Runcie told CNN’s Rosa Flores. 

Earlier today, school superintendent Alberto Carvalho of Miami-Dade County — which is directly south of Broward County — tweeted his school system would “ONLY proceed with in-person schooling” if Miami-Dade County successfully transitioned to phase two. Miami-Dade is currently in phase one.

1:44 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

New Jersey governor: There are coronavirus "flare ups" due to out-of-state travel

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Gov. Phil Murphy
Gov. Phil Murphy Pool

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the state reported 335 new Covid-19 cases, bringing its total to more than 174,000.

The daily positivity rate for tests recorded on Monday is 3.23%, Murphy said, even though the state has been hovering at about 2%. The number of tests counted Monday was very low, which may account for the increase, Murphy said.

The governor added that there have been "a couple flare ups" related to out-of-state travel.

“There’s another increment of risk we’re getting from folks coming in from other states that have exploded and continue to explode," he said.

He added that the system “so far so good has worked spotting some of these flare ups relating to out-of-state travel, as well as some knucklehead behavior in state.”

Remember: New Jersey, along with New York and Connecticut, require travelers coming from at least 19 states with high coronavirus rates to quarantine for at least two weeks once they enter the state.  

1:38 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are declining in Canada, prime minister says

From CNN’s James Froio

CTV Network
CTV Network

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are declining across the country. 

“The situation is stabilizing in Canada because Canadians did their part and followed public health instructions. But we still have to be very careful. Things can change quickly … we still have some hotspots in some parts of the country, including in long-term care facilities and agricultural work settings, so as we continue to gradually reopen the economy, we have to remain vigilant,” Trudeau said.

"Canada has one of the most ambitious and comprehensive plans to counter the economic impacts of this pandemic," he added.

Trudeau said they increased financial support to “vulnerable groups like seniors and students” and those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, as well as provided loans to businesses.

1:27 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Spain's outbreaks present "a worrying situation," health minister says

From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro

Healthcare workers gather samples collected at a temporary testing centre for the novel coronavirus in the Spanish Basque city of Ordizia on Wednesday, July 8.
Healthcare workers gather samples collected at a temporary testing centre for the novel coronavirus in the Spanish Basque city of Ordizia on Wednesday, July 8. Ander Gillenea/AFP/Getty Images

Spanish Health Minister, Salvador Illa, told a Catalan Radio on Wednesday, that the outbreaks in the country present "a worrying situation."

"We know there are outbreaks, all countries that have managed to control the pandemic have them, as it is the situation in Spain. We monitor them with concern and daily," he said.

Spain registered 257 new cases on Wednesday, over half of them linked to outbreaks in Catalonia, Aragon, Galicia and Andalusia.

The total number of cases in the country is at least 252,513. The government's data also shows that four people died from coronavirus in Spain in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 28,396.