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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1:46 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Another 10,000 new coronavirus cases reported in Florida

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Dan Shepherd in Miami

Florida reported another 10,181 cases of coronavirus yesterday, brining the total of cases reported throughout the pandemic to at least 301,810, according to new numbers released by the Florida Department of Health.

A total of 19,334 people are currently hospitalized across the state. 

If Florida was its own country, it would have the 8th highest case count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Only seven countries are reporting more total cases than the state of Florida: The US, Brazil, India, Russia, Peru, Chile and Mexico.

CNN's Rosa Flores in Florida:

1:45 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

11 high-ranking Bolivian officials have tested positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza and Gloria Carrasco

Two more Bolivian high-ranking officials have tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, making the total number of those diagnosed with the virus 11, including interim President Jeanine Añez. 

Minister of Hydrocarbons, Victor Hugo Zamora, tested positive, presents no symptoms and is following self-isolation protocols, according to a statement released by the Ministry on Wednesday. 

Deputy Communications Minister Isabel Fernández also told CNN she has tested positive for the virus and is currently in self-isolation 

The 11 high-ranking officials include 7 of the 17 cabinet ministers, two deputy ministers and Armed Forces Commander General Sergio Orellana.

The cabinet ministers are: 

  • Foreign Minister Karen Longaric
  • Health Minister María Eidy Roca
  • Justice Minister Alvaro Coimbra
  • Cabinet Minister Yerko Núñez Negrette
  • Minister of Mines Jorge Fernando Oropeza
  • Minister of Hydrocarbons Victor Hugo Zamora
  • Economy Minister Oscar Ortiz

The two deputy ministers are Deputy Communications Minister Isabel Fernández and Deputy Interior Minister Javier Issa. 

More on the numbers: Bolivia reported a record 1,617 new coronavirus cases Tuesday night, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, bringing the total registered infections to 50,867 while the country’s death toll reached 1,898.

1:39 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

South Carolina's governor says it should be parents' choice on whether kids attend school in-person

From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart

Jeffrey Collins/AP
Jeffrey Collins/AP

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is calling on all public school districts in the state to submit plans for reopening that give parents the option to either send their children back to school, or keep them home for distance learning.

McMaster said it's critical to get children back in their classrooms "where they all want to be" during a news conference Wednesday morning.

"Try as we might, we know that virtual education is not as good for most children as face-to-face, in-class education," he said.

McMaster repeatedly said that parents need to be given a choice on whether or not their children go back for in-person learning, but he pressed that in-person models must be an option.

McMaster said he has asked South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman not to approve any district's plan that doesn't give parents an in-person option for their children.

"Parents need to have a choice, they need to say to their districts whether they want their children in class 5 days a week or whether they want a virtual education. It will be their choice, but we must have school available," McMaster said.

McMaster also recognized the technology gap in certain parts of the state, where families without internet access can't participate in virtual learning. He said 10,000 students have not been heard from since the pandemic began.

"We cannot restrict learning by forcing students to participate in remote learning when many of our students in rural parts of the state have no access to internet to begin with."

Public schools have until this Friday to submit their final plans for approval by the state. 

1:42 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Oklahoma reports highest daily case total of Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Kay Jones

Sue Ogrocki/AP
Sue Ogrocki/AP

On the same day Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced his positive Covid-19 status, the state has reported a record-high number of new cases.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said today that there are at least 22,813 total cases, up at least 1,075 new cases from Tuesday. The previous record was set on Tuesday at 993 new cases.

There are currently 561 people hospitalized due to the virus. 

12:51 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Senate GOP leader says he has "total" confidence in Fauci

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he has “total” confidence in Dr. Anthony Fauci, after he was asked by a reporter at a Kentucky appearance what his level of confidence is in the infectious disease expert at this point.

Why this matters: The top Republican leader’s remark comes as the public feud between the Trump White House and Fauci continues to simmer.

The White House is making a concerted effort to discredit Fauci as he becomes increasingly vocal about his concerns over reopening the country during a national surge in coronavirus cases. Trump and Fauci are also no longer speaking.

"Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes," Trump said this week, undermining the public health expert Americans say in polls they trust more than the President.

But Trump does not plan to dismiss Fauci, and probably couldn't directly fire him if he wanted to, White House officials have determined. He insisted on Monday that his relationship with the doctor remains strong.

1:18 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Alabama will require face coverings in public

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Alabama will now require residents to wear a face covering while in public, according to a statement from Gov. Kay Ivey.

All individuals in public and within six feet of another person will be required to wear a face covering. Children under six will be exempt.

The new mandate is part of an amended safer-at-home order announced by the governor's office. The amended order runs until July 31.

With this mandate, Alabama becomes the 36th state to require a face coverings while in public.

Click here to see your state requires people to wear masks in public.

12:14 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

Infectious disease expert compares US Covid-19 response to a toddler

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Infectious disease expert Dr. Colleen Kraft said the United States doesn’t have a handle on coronavirus, largely due to people’s behavior. 

“I’m not really sure at this point…what to say differently, except that we may be more at a toddler status, where we have to sort of learn ourselves by putting our hand over a fire to actually learn that there's a problem,” Kraft said.  

Schools cannot open in-person and sports are being canceled due simply to “our inability to wear a mask, social distance and wash our hands,” she said. 

The United States saw a record number of new cases Tuesday with at least 67,417 new reported cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

Watch the interview:

12:13 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

More than 136,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the US

There are at least 3,448,625 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 136,699 people have died from the virus in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

So far on Wednesday, Johns Hopkins recorded 17,051 new cases and 233 reported deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

Visit CNN's tracker of US Covid-19 cases here.

12:09 p.m. ET, July 15, 2020

DC state of emergency will likely be extended through October

From CNN's Nicky Robertson


Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser said the district's state of emergency will be extended — likely through October. 

Meanwhile, the district has experienced delays in giving residents results from coronavirus tests, the mayor said at a news conference this morning.

"We have some internal capacity which we’ve maxed out,” Bowser told reporters.  

She added that they are using contractors to help with testing results. 

The mayor noted that if a resident is getting a coronavirus test, they should quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether or not they have their test results. 

When asked about jurisdictions no longer having to report coronavirus data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bowser said, “I think all of us in hearing that announcement were concerned that there was some political motive behind it.”  

The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that hospital data on coronavirus patients will now be rerouted to the Trump administration instead of first being sent to the CDC.

The mayor said coronavirus data from the district will be shared with any government agency, “but we want to make sure it’s going to get to the hands of the scientists.”