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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3:08 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Brazil's president vetoes parts of law that protects indigenous people against Covid-19

From CNN’s Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo

Andressa Anholete/Getty Images/FILE
Andressa Anholete/Getty Images/FILE

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro vetoed several points of a law aimed at protecting indigenous communities against Covid-19 on Wednesday, according to the government’s Official Gazette.

He vetoed points that assured access to drinking water, free distribution of hygiene products like soap and toothpaste, cleaning and disinfection materials for indigenous communities and mandatory emergency funds for indigenous people’s health.

Parts that dealt with the emergency provision of additional hospital beds and intensive care units to indigenous people, and the acquisition of ventilators and blood oxygenation machines were also turned down.

More on this: The law establishes an emergency plan to combat the pandemic in indigenous territories and asserts that indigenous peoples and other traditional communities are considered "groups in situations of extreme vulnerability" and at high risk for public health emergencies.

The text, approved by the country’s Congress on May 21 and by the Senate on June 16, still has to go back to Congress, which will decide whether to approve presidential vetoes.

The publication of the law with Boslonaro’s vetoes takes place on the same day Supreme Court judge Luis Roberto Barroso ordered the federal government to take measures to protect indigenous communities against Covid-19.

Barroso asked for the creation of a national emergency plan, the installation of sanitary barriers and the establishment of a "Situation Room" to manage the response to the disease in indigenous territories.

For isolated and recently contacted indigenous people, the judge ordered the removal of outsiders from indigenous lands.

The action, which mandates that all indigenous people must have access to the public indigenous health system, was initiated by the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB)

The latest numbers: According to APIB, until June 7, more than 12,000 indigenous people were infected with novel coronavirus, and at least 445 died since the beginning of the pandemic in the country. According to the Brazilian Indigenous Health service (SESAI), 3,421 indigenous people were infected and 184 died of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

SESAI only counts indigenous people living in indigenous territories, not urban centers. 

2:59 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Clinical trials have begun for inhaled version of remdesivir

From CNN's Wes Bruer

Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, has announced the start of clinical trials for an inhaled version of the antiviral drug to treat Covid-19 patients who do not require hospitalization.

The trial will be comprised of 60 healthy individuals ages 18-45 in the US to determine the safety and tolerability of the drug in this format.

“With promising data emerging from the randomized, clinical trials of intravenous remdesivir administered to hospitalized patients, it became clear that efforts were needed to investigate the drug’s potential in the outpatient setting. Significant research efforts have been undertaken to deliver remdesivir in an inhaled, nebulized format. We are pleased to announce the initiation of a Phase 1a clinical study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of an investigational, inhaled solution of remdesivir in healthy volunteers,” Gilead Sciences Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merdad Parsey said in a statement Wednesday.

Remdesivir, which is currently administered intravenously through infusions, is the only drug that has an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus infections.

“Additional clinical trials evaluating remdesivir in combination with anti-inflammatory medicines, in vulnerable patient populations and in outpatient settings are ongoing or planned to initiate in the near future,” the statement said.


2:59 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Covid-19 hospitalizations up 70% in Miami-Dade County

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt 

In the past 13 days, Florida's Miami-Dade County has seen a 70% increase in the number of Covid-19 patients being hospitalized.

The number of intensive care unit beds being used has risen to 84% and the use of ventilators is at 116%, according to the latest data released by Miami-Dade County government.

3:00 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020

Chile continues downward trend of daily Covid-19 cases as two regions ease lockdowns

From CNN's Tatiana Arias

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a senior resident for COVID-19 test in San Miguel of Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, July 7.
A medical worker takes a swab sample from a senior resident for COVID-19 test in San Miguel of Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, July 7. Xinhua/NTB Scanpix/ZUMA Press

Chile's Ministry of Health reported 2,064 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the country's total to 303,083.

The number of new cases represent an increase of 0.69% in the last 24 hours, the lowest figure recorded since early May, according to CNN's count.

However, health authorities reported 139 new deaths on Wednesday, a sharp increase of 2.16% on the new number of daily deaths since July 4 – bringing the death toll to 6,573.

Lockdown easing measures were announced Wednesday for the regions of Aysen and Los Rios and they will take effect starting next Monday.  

“I thank our people who have allowed us to start this de-escalation process very slowly and very carefully," Chile’s Health Minister Enrique Paris said.

For those regions, sporting events of 10 people maximum in enclosed spaces and up to 50 in open areas are now permitted.

People older than 75 can now go outside once a day. Theaters, cinemas, restaurants and cafes can operate at a 25% maximum capacity, according to Chile’s authorities.

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.