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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3:26 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

CDC head estimates US had about 20 million coronavirus infections this spring

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Journal of the American Medical Association
Journal of the American Medical Association

Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated that “between March and April and May, we probably actually had 20 million infections in the United States.”

“We went back and looked, using antibody testing to get an understanding of how extensive the infection was," Redfield said during a webinar with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Tuesday.

While the US only officially diagnosed 2 million cases, he said “in that period of time, it was probably 10 to 1."

“Between March and April and May, we probably actually had 20 million infections in the United States,” Redfield said. “We only diagnosed 2 million.”

Redfield said the US could have been having 150,000 to 200,000 infections a day, “even though we were only diagnosing 20,000 a day.” 

The current situation is a “very, very significant problem right now,” he added.

“This is a serious issue, as you know. We're currently diagnosing, say, 60,000 cases a day. I don't know how many infections that really represents,” Redfield said.

3:10 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

This Brazilian state is out of ICU beds

From Juliana Arini in Brazil

The Brazilian state of Mato Grosso ran out of available intensive care unit beds on Monday, the state’s public prosecutor said.

According to the state’s health secretary, there were only five available ICU beds on Monday, but later that day, Alexandre Guedes, a prosecutor at the State Public Prosecution Office, told CNN that demand for the 332 total ICU beds in the state had exceeded supply.

“When the [State Health Secretary] did the official report, those five beds were available. But they’ve remained this way only for a short time. We have a list of people who are still waiting for an ICU bed to be available. Some of them will die waiting for intensive care treatment,” Guedes said.

There have been 37 lawsuits filed by Covid-19 patients at the Mato Grosso State Court of Justice for more ICU beds to be made available, according to a judge of the Specialized Health Court of Mato Grosso, José Luiz Leite Lindote.

Some background: Since the pandemic started in Brazil in mid-March, Mato Grosso Gov. Mauro Mendes refused to build field hospitals, saying that the money is better spent by bolstering existing health facilities and adding ICU beds there. In a statement to CNN Monday, the state government press office said “that will benefit the population of Mato Grosso, not only during the pandemic."

Other than Sinop, a thriving agribusiness city in the north of the state, there are no field hospitals outside the state capital Cuiabá. This means patients from the countryside need to travel to the capital for adequate health treatment.  

"And there is still no prospect of opening a field hospital in Cuiabá," Guedes said Monday.

As of Monday, Brazil has at least 1,884,967 cases of the virus and 72,833 deaths.


2:59 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Brazilian president says he removed tariffs on some supplies used to fight Covid-19

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro said he eliminated tariffs on 34 additional materials used to fight Covid-19 in a Facebook post Tuesday. 

He said there is now a total of 549 medicines, pieces of equipment and machinery items used to fight the virus that have no tariff.

The resolution mandating this was published in the country’s official gazette on Monday and said the action “grants a temporary reduction, to zero percent of the import tax rate under the terms of article 50,” continuing to say the objective was to “facilitate the fight against the Corona Virus/Covid-19 pandemic.”

Among the materials on the list is ivermectin, which Bolsonaro advocated the use of as a treatment for Covid-19 in a Facebook Live last Thursday. The following day, Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency, Anvisa, released a statement saying, "it is necessary to make it clear that there are no conclusive studies that prove the use of this medication for the treatment of Covid-19, as well as there are no studies that refute this use."

The resolution also eliminated tariffs on machinery for the production and packaging of disposable respiratory protection masks.


2:58 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

California sees record-setting hospitalizations and ICU admissions

From CNN's Sarah Moon


Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions for coronavirus patients continue to rise in California, setting a new record with a total of 6,745 hospitalizations and 1,886 ICU admissions, according to data from the California Department of Public Health.

The state reported 260 new hospitalizations on Tuesday, which reflects a 4% increase from Monday. There was an increase of 53 new ICU patients, reflecting a 2.9% rise from Monday.

The majority of the hospitalizations are in Los Angeles County, according to the public health agency.

The state added 7,346 new positive cases, a 2.2% increase from the previous day. The total of cases statewide stands at 336,508

There were 47 new deaths, a 0.7% increase from the previous day, bringing the statewide total to 7,087. 

The positivity rate over a two-week period is 7.1%, according to the public health agency.


2:29 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

US has made gains on Covid-19 testing, but it's not yet time to do a "happy dance," CDC director says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said although the United States has made major gains when it comes to coronavirus testing, it’s not time yet to do a “happy dance.” 

“I think is a critical area; we need to continue to improve it. I think we've made enormous progress from eight to 12 weeks ago, but that's not to say that we should do a happy dance to say that we've got this done,” Redfield said Tuesday during a webinar with the Buck Institute. 

“The reality is that the need for testing is obviously still there," he added.

Redfield said having to wait a week to get results back won’t do any good, as “by the time you take the test results back they are no longer actionable."

The goal, he said, is to get results back in 48 to 72 hours.  

“I can just tell you we're continuing to work to try to continue to expand that,” Redfield added. 

2:25 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Boston mayor slams Trump administration over college students' visa rules 

From CNN's Carma Hassan

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh speaks at a press conference at Boston City Hall on July 2.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh speaks at a press conference at Boston City Hall on July 2. Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald/Getty Images

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who is a Democrat, talked about the federal court hearing scheduled this afternoon over the Department of Homeland Security’s plan to deny visas to international students taking online college classes. 

“This country has needed all along a White House and an Administration that takes the virus as seriously as the vast majority of American people do. At the very least we need leaders who don’t put up barriers to states and cities that are trying to protect their residents and restore their economies,” Walsh said. “And we need to avoid at all costs politicizing a pandemic and dividing people at a time when acting together is a matter of life and death.”

Walsh said he and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti led a group of cities to file an amicus brief in support of Harvard and MIT’s lawsuit to stop the policy. 

“My message is clear and has been clear: this policy has no basis in public health or national interest. It’s an attempt to put pressure on colleges and universities to open up. It puts politics in the place of public health,” Walsh said. “It’s not fair to students who looked to Boston as a place of educational opportunity and it’s a blow to our economy at a time when we can least afford it.”

The mayor said there are 70,000 international students in Massachusetts, the majority of whom live or study in Boston, and they contribute roughly $3.2 billion to the state’s economy and support 39,000 jobs.

Remember: Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced last week that international students who are pursuing degrees in the US will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only courses.

The move may affect thousands of foreign students who come to the United States to attend universities or participate in training programs, as well as non-academic or vocational studies.

2:03 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Palm Beach County will close restaurants and bars at 11 p.m. ET tonight

From CNN’s Randi Kaye

Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner said he’s going to stop alcohol and food sales after 11 p.m. ET to try and curb the spread of coronavirus in his county.

“I don’t think it’s a big move, it’s good public policy right now since we’ve seen broader compliance around county, we want to keep that momentum going forward,” he told CNN. 

“We have experienced increased levels of compliance in our county, the one difficulty we had was restaurants turning into bars and DJ clubs after midnight. By having a broad restriction on these facilities being open after 12, it will make it much easier to enforce against these bad actors,” Kerner said.

With the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and large establishments in the county lending their support to Kerner, he said that restaurant owners are willing to support the mayor’s decision.

“There’s a lot that concerns me, the growing numbers ... also our positivity rate day over day has started to decline. It’s aspirational right now, but it’s turned and it’s a positive sign. I’m encouraged by the compliance that the community has demonstrated so far," Kerner said.

1:41 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

Masks are key to reopening schools, CDC director says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said the key to opening schools is masks, saying “the data is really clear — they work.” 

Speaking during a Buck Institute briefing on Tuesday, Redfield said the CDC will be coming out with some additional resources this week on how to reopen schools.

One of the resources will look at “how to really take advantage of face coverings. Because to me, face coverings are the key. If you really look at it, the data is really clear — they work,” Redfield said. 

“We're not defenseless against this virus. We actually have face coverings and I do think the more confidence that the American public has — that face coverings are not a symbol, but they're actually a very important preventive intervention that can really block this virus,” he said.  

Redfield added, “we are getting more and more data so I can be more and more aggressive in relating that.” 

Redfield said some of the other resources will be aimed toward parents to help them make decisions on whether to send their kids to schools. The other will be aimed at school administrators on how to keep schools safe.  

See if your state requires people to wear masks when out in public here.

3:06 p.m. ET, July 14, 2020

GOP senator defends Fauci: "Any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive"

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

 Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP
 Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of President Trump, defended Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday after the White House made a concerted effort to discredit the infectious disease expert this past weekend.

“We don't have a Dr. Fauci problem,” Graham said at a news conference in Columbia, South Carolina. “We need to be focusing on doing things that get us to where we need to go. So, I have all the respect in the world for Dr. Fauci. I think any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive, quite frankly."

“Getting in a contest with Dr. Fauci about whether he was right or wrong, doesn't move the ball forward,” Graham added. 

The South Carolina lawmaker went on to say that it’s more important to focus on where the US is as a nation right now.

"The infection rate is going up. We shut the whole country down. It’s time to open up smartly… We have to deal with reality that we’re not as prepared as we need to be, but moving in the right direction," he said.

Graham said the US needs “better testing” and urged the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force “to do whatever they can to ramp up the components of testing” because it will be critical, particularly, if schools reopen in the fall.

He also raised the question of whether the Defense Production Act should be used differently than it’s being used today in order to achieve this testing goal. Because Graham said, “The shortage in testing, is the shortage in the reagents you need to perform a reliable test.”

“We don’t have enough testing in real time for the population as a whole,” he said, pointing to possibly including an incentive for pool testing in the next Covid-19 relief bill.

On masks, Graham said, “Whether or not you need to mandate masking, does that turn the corner? I don't know, but I do know this: if people would take this more seriously it would help us much as in any single thing I can do.”

Watch here: