July 12 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Jenni Marsh, Rob Picheta and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT) July 13, 2020
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10:58 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020

Maryland conducted a record number of Covid-19 tests over the last 24 hours, governor says

From CNN's Sheena Jones

The state of Maryland conducted more than 21,000 Covid-19 tests over the last 24 hours, Gov. Larry Hogan said today in a statement.

The governor said this is a record number of tests for the state.

Maryland has a total of 73,109 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 3,188 deaths related to the virus. 

Of the people tested over the last seven days the state has a 4.45% positivity rate, the governor said.

One thing to note: The numbers listed were released by the state of Maryland and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

11:50 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020

Nancy Pelosi calls education secretary's comments on schools a "dereliction of duty"

From CNN's Alison Main


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called comments from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on schools reopening during the pandemic a "dereliction of duty."

In the interview with CNN today, DeVos refused to say whether schools should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on reopening. Pelosi told CNN that everyone, including teachers and parents, want children to go back to school in the fall, but that it must be done safely.  

"When you hear what the administration is saying, we know that they have no appreciation for the failure that has brought us to this point. Going back to school presents the biggest risk for the spread of the coronavirus. They ignore science and they ignore governance in order to make this happen," Pelosi said.

Pelosi said the CDC's guidelines should be mandated nationally by the administration, claiming that the administration has the authority to do so, just as a governor can require masks and social distancing in his or her state. She also told CNN that she hopes Republicans will join with Democrats in calling for President Trump to implement the Defense Production Act to ensure more personal protective equipment, testing materials and other supplies are available.


10:40 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020

Education secretary won't say if schools should listen to CDC guidelines on reopening

From CNN's Sarah Westwood


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Sunday tried to argue both that schools should open nationwide and that local officials should be the ones making decisions about reopening, claiming that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are only meant to be applied as “appropriate.”

“What we’re saying is that kids need to be back in school, and that school leaders across the country need to be making plans to do just that,” DeVos told CNN. “There is going to be the exception to the rule. But the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall. And where there are little flare-ups or hot spots, that can be dealt with on a school-by-school or a case-by-case basis.”

In pushing so aggressively for nationwide school openings this fall, DeVos joined President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom this week argued the administration would pursue in-person classroom learning to the extent possible so working parents could get back to the office. 

Some context: The CDC has issued some guidance for schools looking to bring back their students in the next few months, such as spacing desks six feet apart and staggering arrivals. But DeVos stressed that the CDC guidelines are not mandatory, and said schools should have the flexibility to implement only the ones that make sense.

“The CDC guidelines are just that, meant to be flexible and meant to be applied as appropriate for the situation," she said.

10:16 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020

New York state is monitoring a Covid-19 uptick linked to Georgia

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York state is closely monitoring an uptick in Covid-19 cases in Rensselaer County – a number of which are being investigated as being linked to several individuals who tested positive for the virus after returning from Georgia, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said in a news release.

“They are in isolation and the New York State Department of Health and Rensselaer County Health Department are conducting contact tracing,” the release said. 

More context: Georgia is one of several states on New York’s travel advisory list, which requires individuals traveling from certain qualifying states to quarantine upon return.

Of the tests conducted statewide yesterday, 677, or 1.08%, were positive, the governor’s office said.

Covid-19 deaths matched the state's previous low, with five reported in the state Saturday.

10:01 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020

Scotland won’t rule out imposing travel restrictions on visitors from England

From CNN's Schams Elwazer

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hinted at the possibility of asking visitors from England to quarantine on arrival in Scotland. 

Speaking to the BBC, Sturgeon said that imposing quarantine restrictions for English travelers is “not something we have decided to do at this stage, it’s not something I am immediately planning to do, but I will take decisions the best I can to protect the health of Scotland and to take that absolutely from a public health perspective.”

Sturgeon said that Scottish officials would “take a very close look” at making sure the virus isn’t brought into the country by people arriving from other parts of the UK. 

Surgeon also added that the decision to quarantine English travelers is “not political, it’s not constitutional, it’s just taking a similar view to countries across the world in terms of protecting populations from the risk of the virus.”

Some context: This decision comes after Scotland — which is one of the four nations of the UK along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland — opted against easing lockdown restrictions as quickly as England due to fears of a second phase.

Sturgeon has been critical of Boris Johnson’s tactics in handling the pandemic, recently calling the British government's decision-making process during the crisis "shambolic."

10:01 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020

Major League Soccer postpones match due to "unconfirmed" positive Covid-19 test by players

From CNN's Jabari Jackson

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire/AP
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire/AP

DC United and Toronto FC’s match on Sunday has been postponed due to an “initial unconfirmed” positive coronavirus test for one player and an “inconclusive test” for another.

Under Major League Soccers' health and safety protocols, teams are tested the day before each match, MLS said in a statement.

"The results of yesterday’s tests for DS United and Toronto FC produced an initial unconfirmed positive Covid-19 case for one player and an inconclusive test for another player. Because of the arrival time of the clubs in Orlando, the league’s protocol called for retesting both teams this morning and to await the results of those tests prior to playing the match," the league said.

MLS said it will "continue to prioritize the health and safety of all participants of the MLS is Back Tournament in making these decisions.”

DC United and Toronto FC were scheduled to kick off at 9 a.m. ET in Orlando, Florida.

9:42 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020

73 UK farm workers contract coronavirus

From Samantha Tapfumaneyi in London

At least 73 key workers working for vegetable producers AS Green and Co based in the town of Mathon in the west of England have tested positive for the coronavirus during an outbreak among their workforce, according to joint statement from the Herefordshire Council and Public Health Midlands (West).

The whole group of around 200 workers are “being treated as one extended bubble” and are being asked to self-isolate on the farm to reduce the spread of the virus, the statement said.

“While Herefordshire is the first to experience an outbreak of this kind, this is not unexpected. Our priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of all residents in our community," Karen Wright, the director of Public Health for Herefordshire, said. “Prompt testing on the farm has allowed us to understand transmission and control the spread of infection." 


9:31 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020

There are more than 7,000 people hospitalized with Covid-19 in Florida

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

There are a total of 7,268 patients hospitalized in Florida with the primary diagnosis of coronavirus, according to new data released by the Agency for Health Care Administration on Sunday. 

The three most populated counties: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, are seeing the highest number of patients hospitalized.

Here's the breakdown of patients for these counties:

  • Miami-Dade County currently has 1,639 patients hospitalized.
  • Broward County has 1,011 patients hospitalized.
  • Palm Beach County reported 605 patients hospitalized.

In Orange County, where Disney World reopened on Saturday, 489 patients are hospitalized.

9:47 a.m. ET, July 12, 2020

Thousands protest government handling of coronavirus in Tel Aviv

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

Ariel Schalit/AP
Ariel Schalit/AP

Thousands of Israelis filled Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square Saturday night to protest the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, angered by what they say is a critical lack of economic aid, predominantly for the self-employed.

Protesters waved yellow and black signs that called the political leaders “disconnected” and saying “enough,” while others held up signs calling this an “economic war” and demanding the government “release the money.”

“We are tired of hearing promises and press conferences,” organizer Daniel Tinder told CNN. “We want to see action, we want to see money in our accounts like all over the world. The health problem is still very severe. The economic problems are even worse. More severe than it was before.”

Following the demonstration, some protesters attempted to block roads in Tel Aviv and damaged public areas, according to Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. Twelve suspects were arrested for causing public disturbances and blocking roads, Rosenfeld said, while three police officers were lightly injured.

Ariel Schalit/AP
Ariel Schalit/AP

Some context: Unemployment in Israel hit 21% Sunday morning, according to the Israel Employment Service, as new unemployment filings were more than double the number of people returning to work over the weekend. Since Thursday, 1,250 returned to work, according to the governmental agency, but 2,843 filed for unemployment.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday morning that the government had approved up to 7,500 shekels (approx. $2,170) in “rapid assistance” to business owners and the self-employed with more steps ahead.

“This support, this grant, is not dependent on legislation and we ordered that it will be enacted already today, the button will be pressed so that the money will arrive in the accounts in the next few days,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

With the economy in such a fragile state, Netanyahu has tried to avoid another complete closure, instead employing stricter social distancing restrictions and localized lockdowns to attempt to contain the second wave of coronavirus in Israel.

Israel appeared to be on track to contain the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, when new cases dipped as low as 20 per day in mid-May following a near-complete national lockdown. But two months later, new coronavirus cases have surged to more than 1,100 per day, raising fears of another lockdown, as the dire economic outlook has taken its toll on the public.

Tour guide Erez Deron says protesters like him are fed up with the abundance of words but the lack of action.

“The government is dealing only with petty things like taxes and words between one another,” Deron told CNN. “[Netanyahu] doesn’t see the citizens. He only cares for himself, and I’m really furious about the time they are spending on foolish things.” 

During the first wave of coronavirus infections that began in late-March, Netanyahu appeared on television many nights to reassure the public that the country was doing well in its fight against Covid-19 and that he had everything under control. His approval ratings for his handling of coronavirus soared, hitting 74% in mid-May when the worst seemed to have passed. As cases have soared again in recent weeks, Netanyahu’s approval rating has tanked, dropping to 46% last week.

The crisis and the ensuing protests have exposed widening gaps within Israel’s national unity government.