July 15 coronavirus news

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

Updated 12:07 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020
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4:31 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

More than 11,000 new coronavirus cases reported in California

From CNN's Sarah Moon

People wait in line for coronavirus testing Tuesday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
People wait in line for coronavirus testing Tuesday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Mark J. Terrill/AP

California reported its second highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases and deaths on Wednesday, with 11,126 new cases and 140 additional deaths, according to data from the state's Department of Public Health.

The new cases represent a 3.3% increase and the deaths reflect a 2% increase from Tuesday’s data.

The state recorded its highest single-day number of cases on July 7 with 11,694 cases and its highest single-day increase of deaths with 149 fatalities the next day.

Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions in the state also reached new all-time highs Wednesday.

The state reported 41 new hospitalizations and 21 new ICU admissions on Wednesday. There are a total of 6,786 Covid-19 positive hospital patients and 1,907 patients in ICU.

Gov. Gavin Newsom warned last Wednesday that approximately 2,000 of the cases recorded on July 7 were from a backlog of cases from Los Angeles County.

As of Wednesday, there are a total of 347,634 confirmed coronavirus cases and 7,227 deaths in California.

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

4:20 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Connecticut governor requests that National Guard remain in state for the rest of 2020 to help with Covid-19

From CNN's Rob Frehse

Military medical personnel, including members of the US Army Reserve and the Connecticut National Guard, train with hospital staff in Stamford, Connecticut, in April.
Military medical personnel, including members of the US Army Reserve and the Connecticut National Guard, train with hospital staff in Stamford, Connecticut, in April. John Moore/Getty Images

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has asked the US Department of Homeland Security to keep the National Guard in the state through the end of the year to continue to help respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Connecticut National Guard has demonstrated that its ability to respond is constant, and their unwavering response is a big reason why we have been able to significantly bend the curve from the initial outbreak,” Lamont said in a statement. “Not only are they providing state government with needed support, but they regularly partner with local and federal agencies to help protect our communities. I thank the Guard for their commitment to the citizens of Connecticut and the impact they’ve made here.”

Since March 20, more than 1,000 members of the Connecticut National Guard and members of the State Militia have been called up to respond to the pandemic, Lamont said.

4:15 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Orange County teachers “making plans for students and teachers dying"

From CNN’s Jenn Selva

An elementary school teacher in Orange County said teachers are “making plans for students and teachers dying” after the county Board of Education voted this week to return children to schools this fall without face masks or social distancing despite a surge in coronavirus cases in the state.

“We’re creatures of habit. We like our routines. We miss our kids terribly. We lay awake at night wondering if they’re okay. How horrible is it that one of the things on the list to do is to have a plan for students and teachers dying?” Denise Bradford, a teacher in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.

Bradford said teachers in her district are concerned about the possibility of becoming infected with the virus that has claimed more than 7,000 lives in California and said they can’t return to school until it's safe.

Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner, who was part of the 11-person county Board of Education panel that voted for the school guidelines, said he thinks face masks should be “optional” for children at schools and that it’s a decision “each individual school district needs to make.”

Despite the vote, many of the county’s 28 school districts won’t adhere to the board’s guidance.

CNN reached out or reviewed information from all of the districts on Tuesday. Of the districts that responded or posted plans online — more than half — none said they would return children to school without masks or social distancing.

4:13 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Fauci clarifies remarks comparing Covid-19 to the 1918 flu pandemic, saying he meant it's "historic"

From CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Ben Tinker

On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, compared Covid-19 to the 1918 flu pandemic, 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 said.

On Wednesday, Fauci clarified his comments to CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Fauci said he was not suggesting that tens of millions of people will die of coronavirus, but that it is “historic” in the sense that it is also a highly contagious and lethal novel virus, for which there is currently no vaccine.

What is different in 2020 is that we have more tools at our disposal to combat the pathogen, as well as instant communications to warn and inform the public, Fauci said.

3:53 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Hospitals in Laredo, Texas, are at capacity due to the pandemic

From CNN's Kay Jones

Hospitals in Laredo, Texas were at 100% capacity on Tuesday, Laredo Health Authority Dr. Victor Trevino told the Laredo City Council during a meeting on yesterday night. 

Interim fire chief and emergency management coordinator Ramiro Elizondo said during the meeting that a team from Federal Emergency Management Agency would be arriving in the city this week to convert a local hotel to a surge hospital site to treat Covid-19 positive patients.

Elizondo said the surge site would provide 106 beds and the capacity will help expand the hospital capacity for non-intensive care unit patients. The hotel would be fully staffed and funded by the team coming from FEMA, according to the city manager. 

Trevino said there is a still an issue in the area with ICU capacity that needs to be addressed. 

“Even if we have temporary hospitals, we still have to press the issue of ICUs," Trevino told the council. "To set up a temporary ICU would be a feat in itself, but we have to be pushing for that, because we could run out of Covid ICUs."

By the numbers: Laredo officials reported another 162 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 3,373 total positive cases, with 2,383 of those active.

They officials also said that there are 168 people currently hospitalized, 71 of those are in the ICU. 

4:09 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Houston Public Schools will be virtual for at least the first 6 weeks of the academic year

From CNN's Bianna Golodryga and Annie Grayer

Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said dates are still subject to change.
Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said dates are still subject to change. Houston Independent School District

The Houston Independent School District will begin its 2020-21 school year virtually on Sept. 8 with all online instruction for six weeks.

In-person instruction is planned to begin on Oct. 19, the district said.

This is a significant change from previous tentative plans for a mid-August reopening date, most likely implementing a hybrid model.

Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan announced Wednesday that those dates are still subject to change based on Covid-19 conditions across the city.

"After hearing multiple voices from health experts, parents, students, staff and community members all HISD students will begin the 2020-21 school year, virtually on Tuesday, September, 8. Our decision to begin the upcoming school year virtually and delay the start of the school year for two weeks, was due to the rising number of positive Covid-19 cases in the area," Lathan said.

Looking to the future: On Oct. 19, face-to-face instruction for students is slated to begin. This date is subject to change based on Covid-19 conditions across Houston and guidance from local, state and federal health officials.

Parents will have the option to opt out of face-to-face instruction entirely for the fall semester and 2020-2021 school year. Parents who select online-only must attend a virtual class outlining expectations and sign an agreement committing to virtual learning.

3:53 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Brazilian president says he again tested positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro participates in a ceremony via video conference on Wednesday.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro participates in a ceremony via video conference on Wednesday. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro told CNN Brasil that he has tested positive again for Covid-19 a week after his initial test indicated he had the virus. 

Bolsonaro told the CNN affiliate in a telephone interview today that he took the new test on Tuesday morning and got the results back that night, although the results had not been made public. 

Bolsonaro said he was “doing very well” and that he hasn’t had a fever since the beginning of last week, according to CNN Brasil reporter Leandro Magalhaes, but that he was anxious to get back to work. He said he hasn’t had other symptoms, such as shortness of breath or loss of taste. He said he plans to take another test in “coming days.”

The president has been working remotely from the presidential residence since last week, holding video conferences and occasionally walking in the gardens, where he has been seen wearing a mask.

He said he continues to take the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine, although it has not been proven to be effective against coronavirus.

2:33 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Fauci says he has not thought about resigning: "I just want to do my job"

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says that he has not thought about resigning, even amid the administration trying to discredit him — which he calls "bizarre."

In an interview with The Atlantic on Wednesday, Fauci was asked if he has thought about resigning. 

"No. I think the problem is too important for me to get into those kinds of thoughts and discussions. I just want to do my job. I’m really good at it. I think I can contribute. And I’m going to keep doing it," Fauci said.

Reporters at The Atlantic also asked Fauci: "You are the government’s top health adviser, and the government you’re trying to advise is actively trying to discredit you. How do you work like that?"

Fauci responded in part, "That is a bit bizarre."

9:43 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Fauci says Navarro's op-ed was "a major mistake" by the White House

From CNN's Amanda Watts

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro enters the West Wing of the White House on July 8.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro enters the West Wing of the White House on July 8. Patrick Semansky/AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said the USA Today op-ed that was written by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was “a major mistake on their part.” 

Speaking to The Atlantic magazine on Wednesday, Fauci said, “I think if you sit down and talk to the people who are involved in that list that came out, they are really, I think, taken aback by what a big mistake that was.”

“If you talk to reasonable people in the White House, they realize that was a major mistake on their part, because it doesn't do anything but reflect poorly on them,” he said.

The op-ed did not go through the normal sign-off process of being edited and approved by the White House press office, a White House official told CNN on Tuesday.

Fauci doesn’t think that was their intention, but said, “I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that. I think they realize now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them.”

Fauci went on to say he has no explanation for Navarro: “He’s in a world by himself. So I don’t even want to go there.”

Clarification: Fauci spoke Wednesday with the Atlantic magazine.

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