July 16 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 0424 GMT (1224 HKT) July 17, 2020
52 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:00 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Florida reports new single-day record of Covid-19 deaths 

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Dan Shepherd in Miami

A health care worker tests a person for COVID-19 at the test site located in the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot on July 15 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
A health care worker tests a person for COVID-19 at the test site located in the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot on July 15 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida is reporting at least 315,775 positive coronavirus cases across the state, showing an increase of at least 13,965 cases from the previous day, according to new numbers released by the Florida Department of Health.  

At least 8,626 people are currently hospitalized across the state.  

Total number of deaths in the state increased by 156, breaking a previous daily record of 132 that was set on Tuesday. During the pandemic, there have been a total of 4,677 coronavirus deaths in the state.

The 13.965 new coronavirus Covid-19 reported today marks the second highest daily total during the state’s pandemic. Sunday’s daily record of 15,299 still holds.

Note: These numbers were released by the state of Florida and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

12:56 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

There are not enough contact tracers in California to handle onslaught of Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Stephanie Elam

Lucia Abascal interviews patients from her home while working as a contract tracer in San Francisco on June 25.
Lucia Abascal interviews patients from her home while working as a contract tracer in San Francisco on June 25. Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images)

To combat the rise in coronavirus cases in California, there needs to be enough contact tracing staff in regions where Covid-19 infections are increasing, the principal investigator for the state’s contact tracing program told CNN, but not all regions require an equal number of tracers. 

“They’re not, in their current level, they’re not in all places,” said University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford, who also leads the university’s contact tracing training program. “If we spread it evenly there still probably wouldn't be enough in the highest incidence areas.” 

Health officials, he said, cannot forecast how much contact tracing is needed in a region until public health departments are alerted to positive results, but the teams are scalable. “We can call in extra people if there's a surge,” Rutherford said. 

With 58 counties in the state, the number of contact tracers working in each county should be driven by the number of confirmed cases, not the county’s total population, he said.

“If you're in Modoc County, with zero cases, you don't need a big contact tracing team,” he said, adding that a regional approach in some parts of the state may be sufficient to cover areas without a lot of cases. “Six people could cover, you know, seven or eight counties.”

UCSF, with the assistance of the University of California, Los Angeles, operates a Virtual Training Academy for contract tracers and is working with the state to bolster its personnel who can follow up with people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

Of the army of 10,000 contact tracers California has assembled in response to the pandemic, the academy has trained 6,700 people so far, he said. As potential tracers are identified by the state, they are quickly processed and begin training, which takes about a week.

And as the number of confirmed cases rises, so perhaps does the need for more contact tracers, who are making phone calls to reach those infected with the virus.

“Last weekend with its rush of cases in San Francisco, people were working overtime,” he said. “It was a major sweat to get it all covered, but we got it covered.”

12:50 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

McConnell on Kentucky mask mandate battle: "I'm not in that fight, but, I'm here to tell you, put it on"

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media in Leitchfield, Kentucky, on Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media in Leitchfield, Kentucky, on Thursday. WAVE

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, made clear Thursday he is not getting involved with the state Gov. Andy Beshear’s battle to mandate mask-wearing.

“I’m not in that fight,” McConnell said Thursday at a press event in Leitchfield, Kentucky. At the same time, McConnell still urged Kentuckians to wear a mask.

“I know there’s an argument going on here in the state over whether the governor can or cannot make you wear a mask,” he said. “I’m not in that fight. But, I'm here to tell you, put it on.”

“I want to encourage everybody regardless of who has the authority to require it or not require it, do it,” McConnell added.

“It's the right thing to do,” he continued, pointing to how Kentucky is “having something of a surge” in coronavirus cases.

What this is about: Last week, CNN reported Beshear’s executive order was temporary blocked the same day he requested it.

McConnell again argued Thursday that masks should not be a political issue.

“How this ended up becoming a factor in American politics is a little astonishing to me,” he said. “The coronavirus is not involved in American politics, at all.”

12:31 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

You'll have to wear a mask if you shop in these US stores

A woman walks outside a Walmart store in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.
A woman walks outside a Walmart store in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

A number of US retailers have announced plans to require customers to wear masks while inside their stores.

Here's a look at some of the US chains who are implementing mask requirements:

  • Target: The retailer announced today that it will require its customers to wear masks or face coverings in all of their stores starting on Aug. 1. People with underlying medical conditions and young children are exempt.
  • CVS: Starting Monday, pharmacy chain CVS will require all customers to wear face covering when entering any of their stores throughout the US.
  • Walmart: The nation's largest retailer will require customers at all of its US stores to wear masks beginning next week. Walmart said it will enforce the new policy by stationing "health ambassadors" near the entrance to remind shoppers of the requirement.
  • Kroger: Staring Wednesday, Kroger stores will require all customers in all locations to wear a face covering when shopping. The chain said customers who can not wear masks are encouraged "to consider an alternative option like a face shield or facial covering." Those who can't wear a mask or an alternative design, are encouraged to use pickup or delivery services.
  • Kohl's: Retail chain, Kohl's, announced yesterday that all customers will be required to wear face masks beginning on Monday.
  • Starbucks: The coffee chain last week said that it will require customers to wear facial coverings or masks in all 9,000 of its company-owned US stores. That policy began yesterday. 
  • Best Buy: The retailer also announced this week that it will also require all shoppers coming into its approximately 1,000 stores to wear face masks.
  • Costco: The company was one of the first retailers to require shoppers to wear masks, enacting their policy back in May.
12:22 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Pelosi to Trump on Covid-19 response: "You've gone down the wrong path. Ask for directions."

From CNN's Clare Foran, Haley Byrd and Manu Raju

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference in Washington, DC, on Thursday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference in Washington, DC, on Thursday. Susan Walsh/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went after President Trump on Thursday over his response to the pandemic.

“The President has made so many bad executive decisions,” she said. “Observing his behavior, I have concluded that he is like the man who refuses to ask for directions. All of the answers are there. The scientists have the answers. We know that testing, tracing, treating, distancing, masking, sanitation can stop the spread of this virus. And yet the President continues to go down the wrong path and refuses to ask for directions from scientists who know better than any of us.”

“Mr. President, admit it. You’ve gone down the wrong path. Ask for directions,” she added later. “Ask for directions from our scientists who know better.”

Pelosi also reiterated Democrats’ call for Trump to fully implement the Defense Production Act for testing, PPE and other items needed to deal with the pandemic.

“There is not enough equipment, but we could have it, if the President executed the Defense Production Act,” she said. “This is such a massive dereliction of duty — people are dying.”

Asked if she is speaking with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows or anybody else in the administration about the next stimulus bill, Pelosi said she has had conversations on individual items. 

She added that Senate Republicans’ suggested price tag of $1.3 trillion for the next bill is not enough. “We should have trillions of dollars to prop up workers,” she said.

She said an Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard to protect employees during the pandemic is “absolutely essential for us to have” in the next package, as well as a rent moratorium and extension of unemployment insurance.

“We know that it will happen. They have to do unemployment insurance,” she said of Republicans, who have so far been skeptical about extending the expanded benefits, which are set to expire at the end of the month.

She said not passing another ambitious stimulus package now will hurt the country further down the road.

12:11 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Target stores will require customers to wear face masks starting next month

From CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn

Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Target will require its customers to wear masks or face coverings in all of their stores starting on Aug. 1.

“This builds on the more than 80% of our stores that already require guests to wear face coverings due to local and state regulations. Given the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the role masks play in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, our store team members also already wear masks when they come to work, which we provide for them,” the company said in a statement.

Individuals with underlying medical conditions and young children are exempt from the announced policy. 

Target joins other major US companies that have made similar announcements, including CVS, Walmart, Starbucks and Best Buy.

12:09 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Miami Dolphins will have no fans during preseason games

From CNN's Jabari Jackson

Mark Brown/Getty Images
Mark Brown/Getty Images

The National Football League’s Miami Dolphins will not allow fans at training camp and preseason games in 2020 due to Covid-19 health and safety concerns.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Dolphins revealed plans to help “create a safe environment in 2020," which also includes no tailgating for the entire season.

“Things are changing week to week and we are still more than two months away from our first scheduled regular season home game so we’ll wait and work with local authorities and make the determination about fans or no fans based on the data as we get closer,” Tom Garfinkel, vice chairman and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, said in the statement. “We’re ready for any scenario and feel very good about the diligence and attention to detail that has gone into creating the safest environment we can if we are able to have fans on September 20th.”

Capacity for Hard Rock Stadium for games will be announced at a later date as the team seeks guidance from health and government officials.

Miami will host their first preseason game on Sept. 20, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

12:04 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

About 3.3 million US seniors live with school-age children, new analysis finds

From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo

As the nation debates how to safely reopen schools – and one of the main concerns being that children may become infected at school and carry the virus back home – new data released by the Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday found that about 3.3 million older adults in the US live in a household with a school-age child.

About 7% of children, or 4.1 million, between the ages of 5 and 18 live in a household with adults 65 and older – a population that is more vulnerable to the virus.

Older people of color are more likely to live in a house with a school-age child compared to their White counterparts, according to the analysis.

Around 19% of seniors who are Asian and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander live with a child that goes to school, as do 17% of older Hispanic adults.

About 13% of American Indian seniors and 11% of Black seniors live with a school-age child.

Covid-19 has disproportionately affected communities of colors, and if schools become a source of infection, older people of color would be at "increased risk of exposure through school-age children," the analysis said.

California, Texas, and Florida – states that are currently dealing with large increases in Covid-19 cases – have relatively large numbers of seniors living with a school-age child.

"The risk posed by Covid-19 to older family members is just one of the many factors that state and local officials will need to consider as they develop plans to safely reopen schools," the analysis said.
12:04 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

These are the 4 hotspot states we're watching today

A health-care worker collects paperwork at a drive-thru testing site in Tucson, Arizona, on Monday.
A health-care worker collects paperwork at a drive-thru testing site in Tucson, Arizona, on Monday. Cheney Orr/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Coronavirus cases are rising across the US, and at least 39 states have reported an increase in the number of new cases from the week before.

We're keeping an eye on several hotspots today, where the spiking numbers of cases have created hospital bed shortages and prompted officials to prepare for the worst.

Here's what you need to know about the US's hardest-hit hotspots:


  • Morgues are filling up: In Maricopa County, which has the most Covid-19 cases in the state, the medical examiner's office has ordered four portable coolers as morgues begin to fill up, said Fields Moseley, the county spokesperson.
  • Out-of-state help needed: State health officials have also announced they're bringing nearly 600 critical care and medical-surgical nurses from out of state to help as they enhance their internal surge plans to fill staffing gaps.


  • New records: The country's most populous state set two more records yesterday with highs for hospitalizations and ICU admissions.
  • New lockdowns possible: In Los Angeles County, the public health director warned another stay-at-home order is likely: "We can't take anything off the table — there's absolutely no certainty of what exactly is going to happen next," Dr. Barbara Ferrer said.


  • Out of ICU beds: As of yesterday, more than 50 hospitals have reached intensive care unit capacity and show zero beds available, according to according to data released by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). In Miami, hospitals have reached 95% capacity, Mayor Francis Suarez, told reporters Thursday.
  • Another day of soaring cases: The state reported nearly 14,000 new coronavirus cases today, brining the total number of cases during the pandemic to more than 315,000. The state's record-high for new coronavirus cases in a single day came last weekend, when officials reported more than 15,000.


  • Trucks for bodies: Two counties in Texas — Cameron and Hidalgo — are sharing a large refrigerated trailer to store bodies of coronavirus patients because of a lack of space at the morgues. San Antonio officials have also said they're requesting refrigerated trucks.
  • Hospitals in one city are full: In South Texas, hospitals in Laredo are full and the federal government is converting a hotel into a health care facility.