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
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11:02 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Miami's hospitals are at 95% capacity due to Covid-19 pandemic, mayor says

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez speaks during a roundtable discussion on July 14 in Miami.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez speaks during a roundtable discussion on July 14 in Miami. Lynne Sladky/AP

Miami hospitals have reached 95% capacity due to the growing Covid-19 pandemic, the city’s mayor, Francis Suarez, told reporters Thursday.

The percentage of positive cases is growing at a smaller rate, Suarez said.

The highest category of people who are getting infected are people between the ages of 18 and 34, who represent 27% of the population, Suarez said.

“They are going back to the home and infecting everybody in the household,” according to Suarez.

From the surveys received by the city “33.7% are reporting they are getting infected by a family member,” Suarez said, emphasizing the importance of sanitizing measures at home.


10:50 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Trump and Dr. Fauci spoke yesterday after more than a month of silence

From CNN's Kevin Liptak, Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

After going more than a month without speaking, President Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke by phone Wednesday despite persistent tensions between the White House and the administration's public health experts. 

One official described the conversation as "good," but other officials declined to characterize the discussion.

Last week, Fauci told the Financial Times that he last saw Trump on June 2 at the White House, and hasn't personally briefed him in at least two months. CNN has reported that Trump hasn't attended a coronavirus task force meeting in months and has turned instead to economic and political advisers as the pandemic continues to rage.

Their conversation yesterday came as White House officials and Trump himself were attempting to distance themselves from an op-ed written by trade adviser Peter Navarro trashing Fauci.

About the piece: Trump said Navarro shouldn't have written it and White House aides said Navarro broke protocol by submitting it for publication. But the article reflected the same sentiment Trump and White House officials have been expressing publicly questioning Fauci's record.

"Dr. Anthony Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public, but he has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on," Navarro wrote in the USA Today op-ed.

10:40 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Argentina's Covid-19 death toll surpasses 2,000

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza and Claudia Dominguez

Dr. Adriana Coronel attends to a COVID-19 patient at the Eurnekian Ezeiza Hospital on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on July 14.
Dr. Adriana Coronel attends to a COVID-19 patient at the Eurnekian Ezeiza Hospital on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on July 14. Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Argentina’s death toll due to Covid-19 has reached 2,072, with 22 new deaths in the last 24 hours, according to data released by the Ministry of Health on Thursday morning. 

The total number of coronavirus cases stands at 111,160, with 4,250 new cases, a record daily increase.

During the ministry’s morning briefing, Carla Vizzotti, Health Access Secretary, highlighted that 93% of the new cases belong to the Buenos Aires metro region (AMBA).

At least 49,120 people have recovered from the virus since the pandemic started, according to health officials. 

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández is expected to meet different health experts and officials on Thursday in order to decide new lockdown measures in the capital and surrounding areas that would start on Saturday, Argentina’s state news agency Telam reported. 

Fernández reimposed a lockdown in the metro area of Buenos Aires until Friday due to the spread of the virus. 

12:58 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Tulsa mayor signs face mask ordinance

From CNN's Kay Jones

Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mayor G.T. Bynum signed a new mask ordinance while wearing a mask himself this morning, according to a post on his Facebook page.

"We do this at the request of our hospitals, our doctors and nurses, our school leaders, and so many more who want to protect the ability of local health care systems to serve Tulsans in need," he wrote on Facebook.

The city of Tulsa has posted more information for residents on its website, including the letters of support from various organizations and the full text of the ordinance.

The Tulsa City Council announced yesterday that it approved face-covering ordinance by a 7-2 vote. 

10:31 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Russia "has nothing to do" with hacking attacks on vaccine developers, Kremlin says

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina 

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia “has nothing to do” with the hacking attacks targeting organizations involved in coronavirus vaccine development, according to state-run news agency TASS. 

"We do not have information regarding who could have hacked pharmaceutical companies and research centers in the UK,” Peskov said. "We can say one thing — Russia has nothing to do with these attempts and we do not accept such accusations just like we don’t accept yet another set of unfounded accusations of interference in the 2019 elections.”

What this is about: An advisory published by the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) details activity by a Russian hacking group called APT29, which also goes by the name "the Dukes" or "Cozy Bear," and explicitly calls out efforts to target US, UK and Canadian vaccine research and development organizations.

"APT29's campaign of malicious activity is ongoing, predominantly against government, diplomatic, think tank, healthcare and energy targets to steal valuable intellectual property," a press release on the advisory said.

9:57 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Tokyo hits highest number of daily infections with 286 confirmed coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki and Junko Ogura

People walk at a pedestrian crossing on July 16 in Tokyo.
People walk at a pedestrian crossing on July 16 in Tokyo. Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Tokyo recorded 286 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, which is the highest number of daily infections in the capital since the pandemic began, the capital’s metropolitan government said. This surpasses its last daily record of 243 cases on July 10.

Japan saw 453 new coronavirus cases nationwide on Wednesday, the Health Ministry announced Thursday, bringing the total number of cases for the country to 23,602 (22,890 on land and 712 on Diamond Princess cruise ship).

The total death toll stands at 998 (985 on land and 13 on the cruise ship.)

Two prefectures have also recorded their highest number of daily infections since lifting the state of emergency on May 25. Osaka, the second biggest city in Japan, confirmed 66 cases on Thursday, while Kanagawa prefecture, adjacent to Tokyo, recorded 48 cases on Thursday. 

Tokyo raised the alert level for coronavirus infections in the capital to the highest of four levels Wednesday.

9:54 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020

What it's like in some of the US's hardest-hit coronavirus hotspots

From CNN's Faith Karimi and Steve Almasy

Cars are seen in line as the drivers wait to be tested for COVID-19 at the COVID test site located at the Miami Beach Convention Center on July 13 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Cars are seen in line as the drivers wait to be tested for COVID-19 at the COVID test site located at the Miami Beach Convention Center on July 13 in Miami Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle/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).
  • Hit harder than most countries: Since the start of the pandemic, the state has reported more than 301,000 positive cases of coronavirus. If Florida was its own country, only eight other countries would have a higher case count, according to Johns Hopkins University data.


  • 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.

9:49 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020

More than 100 scientists call for Covid-19 vaccine "human challenge trials"

From CNN's Wes Bruer and Emma Reynolds

More than 100 scientists signed an open letter to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, calling for the use of “human challenge trials” they believe will speed the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. 

"If challenge trials can safely and effectively speed the vaccine development process, there is a formidable presumption in favor of their use, which would require a very compelling ethical justification to overcome," the scientists wrote to Collin.

More than 2,000 challenge trial volunteers also signed the letter, which was published by 1Day Sooner, an organization advocating on their behalf.

What this kind of trial means: So-called human challenge trials would intentionally expose healthy participants to the Covid-19 virus to determine a vaccine’s efficacy, as opposed to conventional clinical trials, where volunteers receive an experimental vaccine or a placebo and are tracked over a period of time to see whether they become infected.

The letter urged the US government and international groups to “undertake immediate preparations for human challenge trials, including supporting safe and reliable production of the virus and any biocontainment facilities necessary to house participants.”

Earlier this month, members of the NIH's Accelerating Covid-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) Vaccines Working Group said that challenge trials would not speed up vaccine development. 

"A single death or severe illness in an otherwise healthy volunteer would be unconscionable and would halt progress," they wrote in a perspective piece published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

They wrote that large, randomized controlled trials of Covid-19 vaccines are “the most efficient, generalizable, and scientifically robust path to establishing vaccine efficacy.”

10:58 a.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Here's the latest from Florida's Miami-Dade County, the state's virus epicenter

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Dan Shepherd

An entrance at Jackson Memorial Hospital is shown on July 9 in Miami.
An entrance at Jackson Memorial Hospital is shown on July 9 in Miami. Wilfredo Lee/AP

As the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations surge in Miami-Dade County, considered the epicenter of the pandemic, CNN has learned that the county has run out of ICU beds. 

Miami-Dade County has 405 ICU beds available and at last check there were 431 patients in the ICU, according to FIU Infectious Disease expert, Dr. Aileen Marty. Marty advises Miami-Dade County on Covid-19 related matters.

In the past 13 days, the county has seen an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients being hospitalized (48%), in the number of ICU beds being used (53%) and in the use of ventilators (75%), according to the latest data released by the county's government.  Officials reported a 29% Covid-19 positivity rate on Wednesday, 

“On a scale of one to ten, we are at maximum urgency,” Marty said. “We need to turn this thing around right now.”

Marty said that some patients have been transported to converted ICUs. A converted ICU, she explained, does not mean lesser care. Marty said it would involve adapting or converting a room to treat the patient and adding equipment like a negative pressure machine. 

According to Marty, the number of ICU beds is a fluid situation and the number of patients in converted ICUs can change at any point in time.

According to data released by Miami-Dade County today, the county does indeed have 405 ICU beds available and 431 patients.

According to the Miami-Dade Mayor’s office, there are more than 400 hospital beds that can be converted into ICU beds

“If it wasn’t clear before… our situation is extremely serious. There is no doubt about it,” Marty said. “We now have the highest number of people on ventilators that we’ve had, ever.” 

Jackson Health confirmed that the health system has increased ICU beds by converting regular beds into ICU level of care. 

In a statement to CNN, Jackson Health said in part: "Jackson Health System has continued increasing ICU capacity by converting beds and equipment and deploying staff, ensuring that all patients receive the appropriate level of care at all times."

CNN has contacted Miami-Dade County for comment and has not heard back.