July 10 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Steve George, Laura Smith-Spark, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 0015 GMT (0815 HKT) July 11, 2020
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2:11 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

Texas' Harris County closes testing sites due to heat

From CNN's Kay Jones

A healthcare worker organizes Covid-19 tests that were just administered at a testing site in Houston, Texas.
A healthcare worker organizes Covid-19 tests that were just administered at a testing site in Houston, Texas. Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

Harris County Public Health closed testing at 12 p.m. local time due to a heat advisory in the area. 

According to their social media accounts, anyone who had an appointment for this afternoon can return Saturday to get tested. Normal testing hours will resume Saturday, according to a post on the HCPH website. 

Temperatures in the area are forecast to climb between 105 to 110 degrees today, according the National Weather Service in Houston.

Read the tweet:

2:10 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

New York governor to send remdesivir to Florida to assist with their Covid-19 battle

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a media briefing in New York on July 8.
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a media briefing in New York on July 8. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images

New York state will send remdesivir, the drug used to fight Covid-19, to Florida to help the state fight the resurgence of Covid-19 cases, a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said.

The statement issued Friday said the drug should arrive in Florida on Saturday and that New York is sending enough of the medication to help state care for at least 280 Covid-19 patients while it waits for federal aid. 

"When New York was climbing the COVID mountain with no end in sight and resources were scarce, we were incredibly moved by the generosity of states around the country that stepped up to provide supplies and medical personnel in our time of need," Cuomo said.

"We will stand by our fellow Americans every step of the way as our nation fights COVID-19 together," he added.

Remember: In the US, remdesivir  — 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. Gilead originally studied remdesivir as a potential treatment for Ebola, but lab experiments suggested it might be active against the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

According to a study published in May by the New England Journal of Medicine, data showed remdesivir shortened the course of illness from an average of 15 days to about 11 days. The maker of the drug, Gilead, later announced in a statement that claimed remdesivir could also be helpful in treating moderate Covid-19 pneumonia.

CNN's Nadine Schmidt contributed to this report.

2:05 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

West Virginia has highest rate of transmission of Covid-19 in the country, state official says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

West Virginia currently has the highest rate of transmission of Covid-19 in the country, the state's coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh said during a news conference Friday.

Marsh said the state has a rate of transmission of 1.37.

"We have moved, unfortunately, from number two to number one. We now have the highest RT number in the country," Marsh said. "Per that calculation, the virus is spreading faster person to person in West Virginia right now than any other state in the country."

The daily positivity rate is now 3.86% in the state, which Gov. Jim Justice said is "not where we want to be."

Justice said people need to continue to wear masks and socially distance to help prevent further spread so that hospital systems in the state aren't overwhelmed by a potential surge. 

"I've warned you many, many, many times. And I told you mathematically how we could end up being Texas, with the most vulnerable. When we have the most chronic illnesses. We're the oldest, we're sitting right in the sweet spot. We don't have an ocean two thirds away around us like Texas does," Justice said. "I mean, for crying out loud. Absolutely, we have got to know just how much peril there could be right here in West Virginia. The only bullet ... in the gun right now is this right here, this little mask." 
2:04 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

Fauci continues to contradict Trump on the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, continues to contradict President Trump on coronavirus, including sharing differing descriptions about the seriousness of the pandemic in the US.

While President Trump has pushed to reopen schools and downplay the surge of cases, Fauci warned in a Wall Street Journal podcast yesterday that states with resurging coronavirus cases "should seriously look at shutting down." Fauci later noted that states with spiking coronavirus cases still can contain them by pausing their reopening processes, rather than shutting down a second time.

In an interview published earlier today, Fauci said he's "trying to figure out" where President Trump got the number behind his claim that 99% of coronavirus cases were "harmless."

On July 4, Trump sought to downplay the surge in Covid-19 cases by falsely claiming that testing in the US shows 99% of cases "are totally harmless."

"I’m trying to figure out where the President got that number," Fauci said in an interview with the Financial Times, published Friday. "What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1%. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99% is not a problem, when that’s obviously not the case.”

Fauci told FT that he last saw Trump on June 2 at the White House, and hasn't personally briefed him in at least two months.

Here's a sampling of how Fauci has contradicted the President's misinformation on-camera:

1:53 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

Louisiana reports most positive cases in a single day since pandemic began

From CNN's Kay Jones

People line up at the Covid-19 testing site at Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 7.
People line up at the Covid-19 testing site at Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 7. Bill Feig/The Advocate/AP

The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting 2,642 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the single highest day of new cases since the pandemic began. 

According to the Department of Health, there was one other day that reported a higher number of cases, but many of those were backlogged cases from weeks prior.

The positivity rate for tests coming in on Friday is 10.52%. The agency reported that 97% of cases today are due to community spread and 39% of the new cases are for people who are under 29 years old. 

Hospitalizations increased by 75, bringing the total number of patients in the hospital due to Covid-19 to 1,117. Hospitalizations have been trending up since mid-June, according to data released by the agency. 

Note: These numbers were released by Louisiana Department of Health, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

1:48 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

Florida governor says "there was no justification to not move forward" with reopening

From CNN’s Melissa Alonso

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference in Miami on July 07.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference in Miami on July 07. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

After Dr. Anthony Fauci said that new coronavirus hotspot Florida opened too soon, Gov. Ron DeSantis said "there was no justification to not move forward." 

DeSantis defended the move to reopen, saying Florida had a "very low prevalence" of Covid-19 in May and early June, "particularly in the 64 counties outside of southern Florida." 

"We did put southern Florida on a different pathway," DeSantis said at a Friday news conference in Orlando. 

DeSantis said cases are on the rise in other parts of the country as well, not just Florida. Across the Sunbelt, "this is something that we're dealing with," said DeSantis.   

The governor did not mention Florida's 11,433 new positive cases reported today during the news conference. This marks the second time the state's single-day tally of cases topped more than 11,000, according to CNN's count.

Florida health officials reported 11,458 cases on July 4, according to CNN's tally. 

1:35 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

58 MLB players and 8 staff members test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association jointly announced in a statement Friday that 1.8% of team personnel have tested posted for coronavirus in the final intake screening through the end of July 9.

According to the statement, there were 66 positive tests out of 3,748 total samples tested. At least 58 were players and eight staff members, and 27 of the 30 teams had an individual test positive.

With the intake process completed, individuals have moved on to monitoring testing, which will test tier one individuals every other day and tier two individuals multiple times per week. 

More about the intake screening: A total of 7,401 monitoring samples have been collected and tested to date. Seventeen samples, which is 0.2%, tested positive. Thirteen of the 17 positives have been from players, four were staff members.

Since the beginning of intake screening on June 27, there have been 83 positive tests (0.7%) out of 11,149 samples. Among the 83 positive tests, 71 were players and 12 were staff members. 

At least 28 different teams have had an individual test positive in intake screening or during monitoring testing.

1:36 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

South Carolina governor calls for schools to reopen

From CNN’s Eileen McMenamin

In this file photo, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaks with reporters in Columbia, South Carolina on April 23.
In this file photo, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaks with reporters in Columbia, South Carolina on April 23. Meg Kinnard/AP/File

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, speaking at a news conference today, said he plans to reopen schools this fall.

“We intend to open the schools and we’re making plans in that direction now,” he said. “When the children have to stay home, that means some of the parents can’t go to work. And ladies and gentlemen, South Carolina’s business is business. We must go to work. We must stay working. If we can’t work, then we cannot survive as a prosperous state.” 

Public Health Director Dr. Joan Duwve said 15% of the 50,458 confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Carolina have occurred in people ages 20 and under, and 42% of the state’s total cases have been reported in the past two weeks.

“Please think about that. Nearly half of the Covid-19 cases in the state of South Carolina have occurred in the past two weeks and think about what those numbers are going to look like two weeks from now," Duwve said.

The governor said the state cannot enforce a mask-wearing provision with 5 million residents, but encouraged people to wear masks, socially distance and wash their hands frequently.

“Wear your mask, wear your mask, wear your mask,” he said. “Wash your hands, keep that distance. Follow those rules and we’ll get through this.”

Asked about the increased risks that come with opening schools, McMaster said, “Our plan is to have the schools open and a lot of discussion’s going on about that right now.” 

He said of the state’s students, “We need to get ‘em back in. People have to go to work. Parents have to go to work. Teachers want to go to work. Everybody wants to get the schools started. But we have to be sure that we’re doing so safely.”

1:06 p.m. ET, July 10, 2020

"Very unlikely" world can eradicate or eliminate coronavirus in current situation, WHO says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

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

It is unlikely that the world can eradicate or eliminate coronavirus any time soon, a World Health Organization official said on Friday.

"In our current situation, it is very unlikely that we can eradicate or eliminate this virus. There are very particular environments in which that can occur  — island states and other places — but even they risk re-importation," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said during a briefing in Geneva.

"We’ve seen countries who’ve managed to get to zero or almost zero re-import virus from outside. So there’s always a risk — either from within or from bringing disease back in — and therefore, it is a given that there is always a risk of further cases," Ryan said. "The transmission that occurs in that situation can be single, sporadic cases, which can be relatively easily isolated and quarantined. A more worrying pattern is large clusters of cases that could occur in association with super spreading events — events in which large crowds gather."

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for coronavirus response and head of its emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, also said in Friday's briefing that "this is something we all need to anticipate — that there's the possibility that there could be a resurgence, there could be these small outbreaks."