July 14 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Tara John, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 0450 GMT (1250 HKT) July 15, 2020
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4:55 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Fauci says Covid-19 has the potential to be as serious as the 1918 pandemic

From CNN's Jen Christensen and Lauren Mascarenhas

Nurses in Lawrence, Massachusetts, care for victims during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918.
Nurses in Lawrence, Massachusetts, care for victims during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist and prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Tuesday that Covid-19 is a “pandemic of historic proportions.”

“I think we can’t deny that fact,” Fauci said during a Georgetown University Global Health Initiative webinar. “If you look at the magnitude of the 1918 pandemic where anywhere from 50 to 75 to 100 million people globally died, that was the mother of all pandemics and truly historic. I hope we don’t even approach that with this, but it does have the makings of, the possibility of … approaching that in seriousness.”

Fauci added he hopes the interventions that are being tested currently will help prevent such a disaster. 

The challenge in the country now is the resurgence of infections in the South and Southwestern part of the country. Fauci said California, Florida, Arizona and Texas are the states to watch now.

“They’re seeing record numbers of cases, mostly interestingly, among young individuals,” Fauci said.

The rise in cases suggest a link to the lifting of restrictions in those states, he said.

“Individuals, mostly young people, were seen at bars congregated in crowded places, many of them without masks, which really adds fuel to the fire,” Fauci said.

4:42 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Virginia governor: "No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service"

From CNN’s Eileen McMenamin

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam holds a coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam holds a coronavirus briefing on Tuesday. Pool/WTVR

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans to step up enforcement of coronavirus restrictions statewide, citing an increase in cases especially in the tourist area of Hampton Roads.

“There's clearly some substantial community spread. A lot of that increase is driven by people socializing, without wearing masks, especially young people. As a matter of fact, the increase in the age group of 20 to 29-year-olds from here, compared to early June, is up 250%,” he said. “And it is very concerning.”

Virginia’s Department of Health will immediately deploy 100 additional inspectors to ramp up enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing. The governor also called on restaurant and business owners to take action, warning their licenses will be on the line. 

“If a patron of your establishment is violating the rules, you have the ability to say no. It's just like the signs in so many store windows that say ‘No shirt, no shoes, no service.’ Now it should be ‘No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service,'" Northam said. “You don't have to serve a patron who's not wearing a face covering. You can tell them to leave. And if they don't, they're trespassing and you can, in turn, call the police.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said the overwhelming majority of Virginians have been “doing the right thing,” which is why the state has not seen a spike in coronavirus cases like Florida or Texas.

“However, there are a number of people who have in fact not been following the guidelines and, as the governor says, we are going to get much stricter in enforcing those guidelines," he said.

4:37 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Mississippi hospitalization numbers are highest since pandemic began

From CNN's Molly Silverman

During a news conference on July 9, Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs sits in front of a chart showing a spike in the state's coronavirus cases.
During a news conference on July 9, Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs sits in front of a chart showing a spike in the state's coronavirus cases. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said the Covid-19 hospitalization numbers Tuesday were by far the largest number in the state since the first case was reported on March 11.

Reeves said 805 are hospitalized for Covid-19 and 254 additional hospitalizations are suspected Covid-19 positive and are waiting for their test results.

State Health Official Dr. Thomas Dobbs said there is increasing stress on the hospital system.  

Dobbs said in the past five days, the total confirmed hospitalized patients in Mississippi has gone up by 119 cases. In the past five days, there has been 40 additional intensive care unit patients and 22 additional patients requiring ventilation.

“If we look at hospital capacity, today there are 10 ICUs in Mississippi that have zero beds available. It has become a real issue," Dobbs said.

Dobbs added that 25 hospitals in Mississippi have less than 25% capacity.

4:17 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Without a vaccine, the US could be "wrestling with this virus" for a few years, CDC director says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said without a “biological countermeasure” such as a vaccine, “we're going to have to go through two or three years of wrestling with this virus.” 

When it comes to a coronavirus vaccine, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said, “I've never seen the government move faster."

“It's clear that this first experience is really going to still leave over 75% of the American public susceptible to this virus,” he said during a webinar with the Buck Institute on Tuesday.   

“My hope is that between now and January, we're going to have a successful vaccine, so we can begin to protect the American public from Covid and get this Covid virus behind us,” Redfield said.  

4:13 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

CDC director says he's considering community-based testing strategies

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

A health worker administers a Covid-19 test in Waukee, Iowa, on Tuesday.
A health worker administers a Covid-19 test in Waukee, Iowa, on Tuesday. Charlie Neibergall/AP

Testing everyone in a small community may be one way to get on top of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday.

“If there’s 10,000 people in the community…what it would take if we just tested all 10,000 – figure out in a three to five day period who's infected, who isn't – and see if that's a strategy that can help bring the outbreak under control in that community?” Redfield said during a JAMA interview.

Experts have said repeatedly that the only way to control the virus will be to test, find new cases, isolate those people and then find people they have been in contact with and quarantine them to stop onward transmission.

“The challenge that we have with traditional public health diagnosis, contact tracing, isolation of course, is the biological nature of this virus being so asymptomatic,” said Redfield. “I think now that it's moved into the younger age group, we probably have over 50% of infections lack symptoms.”

Testing everyone in a community could help health officials find those without symptoms who could be passing along the virus without knowing it. 

Redfield said he’s noticed a trend in Hispanic communities being disproportionately impacted by the virus. 

“Something's going on in the Hispanic community about community transmission that... we don't have our hands around,” he said. 

4:07 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Venezuela's capital goes back to total lockdown after rise in new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota, Colombia

People line up to buy groceries in Caracas, Venezuela, on Monday.
People line up to buy groceries in Caracas, Venezuela, on Monday. Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela's capital, Caracas, will go back under total lockdown Wednesday, the country's Vice President Delcy Rodríguez announced on Twitter. 

Venezuela started a gradual reopening since early June, but after a rise in new coronavirus cases reported over the last several days, embattled President Nicolás Maduro announced his decision to reimpose a total lockdown on the Capital District and surrounding Miranda state, Rodriguez tweeted Tuesday. 

Venezuela currently has 9,707 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, according to data collected by Maduro's government. Of those cases, 1,970 were recorded in Caracas and the surrounding Miranda state. 

The Venezuela opposition as well as international organizations have questioned the government's ability to properly track and report Covid-19 cases. 

4:21 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

New Hampshire unveils back-to-school guidance for reopening this fall

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu speaks on Tuesday.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu speaks on Tuesday. Pool/WMUR

New Hampshire has released guidance for how schools should approach safely reopening in the fall, Gov. Chris Sununu announced on Tuesday.

The guidance does not prescribe an overarching requirement for schools to reopen in the state and instead gives districts and teachers the ability to design models that work for their specific situations. The guidance noted the wide disparities between rural and urban and suburban areas of the schools in the state.  

Sununu said the goal was to keep things “flexible so they can open today,” but then to “remain dynamic as they go through the fall semester.” 

“A safe return to school in September 2020 is the primary goal, with accommodations for individuals, students and educators, who due to underlying health concerns are not able to return to in person learning,” the document states. “This guidance is dynamic and as circumstances and data change, it may require updating.”

Here are some of the details in the reopening guidance: 

  • Masks: Face coverings will not be mandated “in every aspect of the school,” the governor said, but will be encouraged when social distancing can’t be accomplished. Visitors — including parents dropping things off — will be mandated to wear masks. 
  • Social distancing: The guidelines discuss how to set up classrooms, spacing desks out between 3 and 6 feet.
  • Plannings: The guidelines call for developing screening procedures for staff, students and visitors and giving teachers more development days to update their contingency plans for if anyone in the school system is diagnosed with Covid. 

“We feel confident all students can come back in a safe, productive manner,” Sununu said. 

The guidelines were developed by a task force put together earlier this year that consisted of parents, teachers, administrators and students and surveyed districts across the state, Sununu said. 

5:00 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

North Carolina schools will be open in the fall for both in-person and remote learning, governor says

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson 

North Carolina schools will be open for both in-person and remote learning this fall with key safety precautions being put in place, Gov. Roy Cooper said during a news conference today. 

Face coverings will be required for every K-12 staff member, teacher and student. The state will be providing at least five reusable face coverings for every student, teacher and staff member, Cooper added.

Schools must limit the number of people in the building to enforce social distancing — that might mean alternating days or weeks that kids are in school. Children must also be screened before they enter the building, Cooper said. Teachers will have to limit the sharing of materials and build time into the day to allow for frequent hand-washing and cleaning. Nonessential visitors will also be limited and large gatherings such as assemblies should be suspended.  

A two-month supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and thermometers has already been sent to school nurses, the governor said. 

If local districts are not comfortable following the state's Plan B, they can opt for Plan C which is all remote learning. 

Cooper warned that if the trends spike, and in-person schooling cannot be done safely, North Carolina will move to all remote learning. 

3:59 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

CDC director doesn't believe Southern surge in cases is due to reopening

From CNN's Amanda Watts and Christina Maxouris

Lines of cars wait for coronavirus testing at a drive-through site in Miami Gardens, Florida, on July 5.
Lines of cars wait for coronavirus testing at a drive-through site in Miami Gardens, Florida, on July 5. Wilfredo Lee/AP

Speaking during a webinar with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said he does not think reopening is "what's driving the current Southern expansion right now."

Redfield pointed to a spike in coronavirus cases around June 12-16. 

“It all simultaneously kind of popped,” he said. 

Redfield said this surge was independent of when states reopened to varying degrees across the region, “so we're of the view that there was something else that was the driver," he said. The CDC director said the potential spike could have been from travel during the Memorial Day weekend.

“A lot of Northerners decided to go south for vacations. The Southern groups had never really taken the mitigation steps that seriously, because they really didn't have an outbreak," he said.

Redfield's comments come as surges in US cases have forced state and local officials to ponder more restrictions and, in some cases, consider a second round of shutdowns. More than half of US states have now halted or rolled back their reopening plans in hopes of preventing further spread. 

In Houston, where hospitals are already overwhelmed with patients and hitting intensive care unit capacity, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday he proposed a two-week shutdown to the governor following a surge in cases.

"I do think we are going to need to shut down for a period of time. I am proposing two weeks, or at the very minimum, to return to phase one," Turner said.