July 13 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Steve George, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:15 p.m. ET, July 13, 2020
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10:54 a.m. ET, July 13, 2020

More than 8,000 patients are hospitalized with Covid-19 in Florida

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian and Christina Maxouris

There are a total of 8,038 patients hospitalized across the state of Florida with the primary diagnosis of coronavirus as of Monday morning, according to new numbers released by the Agency for Health Care Administration. 

The three most populous counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County, are experiencing the highest numbers of coronavirus related hospitalizations.

Florida continues to record alarming rates of cases. Health officials reported Sunday a staggering record of new cases in a single day: 15,300.

If Florida were a country, it would be the fourth-highest in the world in reporting new cases. The state would rank 10th in terms of having the most cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

10:52 a.m. ET, July 13, 2020

Some Detroit students are heading to summer school in-person today

From CNN's Meridith Edwards

Detroit Public Schools began summer classes today — the first time schools welcomed back some students for face-to-face instruction since the district closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

On top of in-person classes at some schools, the school district is also providing a distance learning summer program, according to the district's website.

The summer school program is voluntary: About 4,000 parents signed their children up for the classes, with more than half choosing face-to-face instruction. About 300 teachers signed up for 180 spots to teach in person.

What it's like in the classroom now: On Monday morning students and staff members will answer questions on a health form and have their temperature checked. They will be required to wear masks, and social distancing will be a priority.

Detroit schools are also disinfecting classes and buses daily and accepting fewer students per class.

10:35 a.m. ET, July 13, 2020

As Brazil nears 2 million Covid-19 cases, the pandemic continues to devastate indigenous tribes

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso and Zamira Rahim

Brazil's indigenous citizens have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Indigenous people in Brazil often live in communities which are far from hospitals, in areas which often lack basic infrastructure. Those who move to towns or cities can end up in precarious living conditions with few public services, increasing their vulnerability to health issues.

According to the country's Special Indigenous Health Service (SESAI), more than 8,000 Brazilian indigenous people have so far contracted the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. The service only counts people living in indigenous territories, urban centers.

The President of Mato Grosso Indigenous Federation told CNN that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's government has failed to adequately prepare for the pandemic.

“The doctors have to prescribe, not the president. The government did not take prevention seriously,” the President of Mato Grosso Indigenous Federation said.

Brazil is nearing 1.9 million cases of the novel coronavirus after its health ministry reported 24,831 new cases Sunday. It has the second highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world, behind only the US.

Bolsonaro, who tested positive for the virus last week, vetoed several points of a law aimed at protecting indigenous communities against Covid-19 last Wednesday, according to the government's official journal. The proposed legislation establishes an emergency plan to combat the pandemic in indigenous territories and classifies indigenous people and other traditional communities as "groups in situations of extreme vulnerability."

But the vetoes are not final. The law's text, which has already been approved by the country's Congress and Senate, must now be voted upon again. If a majority in both houses vote against the President's vetoes, the law will be approved in its entirety. Otherwise, the law will move forward without the vetoed parts.

The president has repeatedly dismissed the threat of the disease, and has a historically antagonistic relationship with indigenous Brazilians. 

Watch CNN's latest reporting on the ground in Brazil:

10:34 a.m. ET, July 13, 2020

Hong Kong tightens social distancing measures as coronavirus cases rise 

From CNN’s Jadyn Sham in Hong Kong and Sophie Jeong in Seoul. 

Hong Kong will tighten travel and social distancing measures, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Monday, as the city reported 52 new cases of Covid-19 in Hong Kong’s “third wave” of infections.

The measures will take effect starting midnight local time on Wednesday.

Here are details on the guidelines:

  • Any travelers coming into Hong Kong by cars, planes or ferries, who have been in or transited through high-risk areas in the last 14 days, must show proof that they have been tested negative before boarding. If they fail to do so, airlines will be penalized, Lam said. No further details on this measure were provided. 
  • Public gatherings of more than 4 people, including religious events and weddings, will be banned, while no more than 4 customers will be allowed to sit together at a table in restaurants.
  • Additionally, restaurants will have to stop their dine-in services from 6pm to 5am the next day.
  • Amusement game centers, bathhouses, fitness centers, places of amusement, places of public entertainment and party rooms will be closed for 7 days from Wednesday, while exhibitions and public events will either be canceled or postponed.
  • Masks will be mandatory on all public transport – though the majority of Hong Kong citizens have been regularly wearing them in public since the outbreak.
  • Lam also said Hong Kong Disneyland and the amusement park "Ocean Park" will need to be closed from Wednesday. 

The Hospital Authority reported the eighth coronavirus death after a 95-year-old woman died Monday night. There are 1,521 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong. 

8:15 p.m. ET, July 13, 2020

UN says more than 130 million people worldwide may go hungry in 2020 due to Covid-19 

From CNN’s Ingrid Formanek and Hira Humayun

A UN report released Monday predicts the Covid-19 pandemic could send more than 130 million people around the world into chronic hunger by the end to 2020.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published its latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, which says the pandemic is “intensifying the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems.”

The report estimates “at a minimum, another 83 million people, and possibly as many as 132 million, may go hungry in 2020 as a result of the economic recession triggered by COVID-19.”

The report also estimates around 690 million people went hungry in 2019 – up by 10 million from the previous year.

Africa is the hardest hit region in terms of percentages, with 19.1% of its people undernourished, according to the report, followed by Asia at 8.3%, and Latin America and the Caribbean at 7.4%.  

With the toll the pandemic is taking on food security, the report says achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030 is in question.

10:20 a.m. ET, July 13, 2020

"Failure at the statewide level" is the reason for Texas' coronavirus situation, Austin mayor says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Texas, Austin Mayor Steve Adler on "CNN Newsroom" on July 13.
Texas, Austin Mayor Steve Adler on "CNN Newsroom" on July 13. CNN

As coronavirus cases continue to increase in Texas, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said that it was failure at the statewide level that has brought Texas to its current coronavirus stage.

“I think the lesson to be learned in Texas is you cannot open up the economy in ways that looked like the economy was opened before,” he told CNN on Monday. “I do believe that the failure at the statewide level to have a mandate on masking, [reopening] the economy is one of the chief reasons where we are today.”

Texas' mask mandate went into effect on July 3, weeks after other states issued theirs. Many other states still do not have statewide mandates and there are no federal orders to wear masks.

The mayor said that a mask mandate sends a “clear message” when the message coming out of Washington is “harmful.”

“The message coming out of Washington is harmful, and it's dangerous and causing problems right now across the country. There needs to be a very clear message that masks are mandatory and have to be worn.”

Mayor Adler added that the city of Austin's mask mandate "bought some more time" — but it’s still on the edge.

“We've bought some more time, but if anybody's listening now from Austin, now is not the time to take the foot off the break. We are on the edge,” he said. “We had 17 more people admitted into our ICUs last night. That's a 10% increase. So we're still in a rough place.”

He added that he’s hearing from other hospitals near Austin, asking about ICU availability, and he’s expecting the demand to come from all over the state.

“What happens around the state impacts us,” he said. “We have been calculating our need based on our need and now we realize that it's going to be coming from all over the state. This needs a statewide and a [national] response.”

Watch more:

9:35 a.m. ET, July 13, 2020

FDA gives "Fast Track" status to two Covid-19 vaccine candidates

From CNN Health’s Wes Bruer

Pfizer and BioNTech announced today that they have received "Fast Track" designations from the US Food and Drug Administration for two of their four Covid-19 vaccine candidates, according to a press release. 

“This designation was granted based on preliminary data from Phase 1/2 studies that are currently ongoing in the United States and Germany as well as animal immunogenicity studies,” the release stated. 

What this means: Fast Track designation allows for a more efficient development process between companies and regulatory agencies and makes drug developers eligible for accelerated approval with a rolling review process of submitted data.

Companies must request the designation and it is reserved for “any drug being developed to treat or prevent a condition with no current therapy obviously is directed at an unmet need,” according to the FDA’s website. 

Next steps: Pfizer and BioNTech’s collaboration on Covid-19 vaccine development, dubbed “Project Lightspeed,” expects to begin phase 2b/3 of its trial later this month. The companies aim to enroll 30,000 participants, according to the press release.

Pending the success of ongoing studies, “the companies currently expect to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021.”

“The FDA’s decision to grant these two COVID-19 vaccine candidates Fast Track designation signifies an important milestone in the efforts to develop a safe and effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2,” Peter Honig, senior vice president of global regulatory affairs for Pfizer, said in a statement. “We look forward to continue working closely with the FDA throughout the clinical development of this program, Project Lightspeed, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these vaccine candidates.”

“We are pleased to have received Fast Track designation from the FDA for two of our vaccine candidates and look forward to working closely with the FDA, along with our partner Pfizer, to expedite the clinical development path forward,” Özlem Türeci, chief medical officer at BioNTech, said in the statement.


10:03 a.m. ET, July 13, 2020

White House doesn't offer any defense for Fauci as tensions rise

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a news conference at the White House on July 6.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a news conference at the White House on July 6. Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg/Getty Images

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany didn’t offer any defense or pushback on the narrative of tension between the White House and Dr. Anthony Fauci when asked about his relationship with the task force Monday, instead saying the nation’s top infectious disease expert simply “represents one viewpoint in the administration.”

“The Admiral [Brett Giroir] hit the nail on the head on this yesterday. He was making the point that Dr. Fauci represents one viewpoint in the administration and he looks at things from a public health standpoint,” McEnany said during an appearance on Fox News.

She continued:

“The whole point of the task force is to be a whole of government look at what is best for this country. That includes Dr. Fauci’s opinion, it includes Adm. Giroir’s, and ultimately, those conclusions are taken to the President. So Dr. Fauci’s one member of a team, but rest assured his viewpoint is represented and the information gets to the President through the task force.” 

Remember: These remarks come as Trump and Fauci haven’t spoken in over a month. 

On school reopening, McEnany claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t looking at data or science when she was critical of the administration’s reopening plans and is “messing with our children.” 

She was asked how the administration’s guidelines would differ from CDC guidelines – though it’s unclear what Trump administration guidelines the host was referring to. Regardless, McEnany said, “We leave it to localities as to exactly what guidelines work.” She said CDC guidelines are “out there as a best case scenario,” but many of its measures are “not possible or not feasible.”

“These are perfect-world guidelines,” she said of the CDC’s recommendations. 

10:10 a.m. ET, July 13, 2020

Atlanta mayor says her husband is doing much better after testing positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on CNN's "New Day" on July 13.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on CNN's "New Day" on July 13. CNN

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says her husband is doing much better after he, one of her four children and she tested positive for Covid-19 last week

Appearing on CNN’s New Day with Alisyn Camerota on Monday, the mayor said she suspected something was off after her husband had been sleeping much more than usual and in the last week, he has lost over 20 pounds. She and her child are largely asymptomatic.

Since the diagnosis, Bottoms has railed against the lengthy time it took to get her previous test, as it would have shown she had an asymptomatic child in the houses 8 days before her own Covid-19 diagnosis.

“If it took my family eight days to get as a result I can only imagine what's happening with people across this country,” she said, adding when asked that there was a point she was fearful she would have to take her husband to hospital in part because he couldn’t finish a conversation without falling asleep.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms: