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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5:39 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

South Carolina records its highest single-day Covid-19 death toll

From CNN's Natasha Chen

South Carolina reported its most Covid-19-related deaths in a single day Thursday with 69 confirmed and three probable deaths.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control noted that these deaths occurred over the past few weeks and that the lag time in reporting is related to ensuring the deaths are related to Covid-19.

This often involves waiting for a medical certifier or coroner’s report and can be delayed if the person experienced multiple medical issues. 

The state also reported 1,842 new Covid-19 cases — almost identical to Wednesday’s count — bringing the total number of confirmed cases in South Carolina to 63,880 and the total number of confirmed deaths to 1,053.

To note: The figures above were released by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

5:37 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Mid-American Conference delays start of fall sports season

From CNN's Jill Martin

The Mid-American Conference (MAC) announced Thursday that out of caution for the health and well-being of athletes, coaches and others involved, it will postpone the start of field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country until September 3.

According to a news release, this decision applies to exhibition and non-conference games and will align with the start of football season, allowing all fall competition to begin at the same time.

"The decision will provide additional time to prepare for the safe return to competition on an adjusted timeline," a statement said.

5:37 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

What NFL players know and don't know about the upcoming season

From CNN's Homero De La Fuente

Houston Texans star J.J. Watt tweeted Thursday a list of things that players and the National Football League Players Association know and don’t know regarding the upcoming NFL season. 

“In the interest of having everyone on the same page in terms of what we know and don’t know at this time, here are a few things I’ve learned being on four NFLPA calls in the last two weeks with hundreds of other players,” Watt tweeted. “Keep in mind our rookies are scheduled to report in 48 hrs”

In the list, Watt reiterates that players do want to play, but want to do it in the safest way possible.

He mentions that players still have yet to receive a valid Infections Disease Emergency response from any team or league or how often the league will test players for Covid-19 throughout the season, or how a positive test would affect things like contracts and roster spots.

As for the season’s training camp and games, Watt said players haven’t been told whether there will be any preseason games and that nothing has been agreed upon regarding what training camp will actually look like and how the “ramp up” period will work. 

Training camp start dates are still being negotiated between the NFL and NFLPA. According to Watt, Texans rookies are scheduled to report on Saturday.

The Texans are scheduled to open the regular season against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 10.

Read the tweet:

5:34 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Chile hopes to start Covid-19 vaccine trials in early August

From CNN's Tatiana Arias

Healthcare workers conduct rapid COVID-19 tests at a testing site geared for garbage collectors street-sweepers and street vendors, at a sports center in Santiago, Chile, Wednesday, July 15.
Healthcare workers conduct rapid COVID-19 tests at a testing site geared for garbage collectors street-sweepers and street vendors, at a sports center in Santiago, Chile, Wednesday, July 15. Esteban Felix/AP

Chile hopes to begin Covid-19 vaccine trials in early August, Chilean Health Minister Enrique Paris announced during a Thursday briefing.

"Right now, we have three possibilities [of vaccines] that are very advanced, because they are in Phase III of the study. Phase III means that tests can be done in humans," said Paris. 

Among the vaccines the Chilean government is considering are SinoVac, CanSino and also a "vaccine done by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford," Paris said.

The health minister and Chilean President Sebastian Piñera met with a group of experts to evaluate which vaccine will be used to conduct the trials.

About 3,000 participants are needed for the study, Paris said. 

On reporting: Paris also announced changes to how Chile will gather data on Covid-19 deaths. 

Starting on Friday, Chile's daily report of new Covid-19 deaths will now be based on the health ministry's Statistics and Information Department (DEIS) and will no longer come from the Civil Registry as it has been done since June 10. 

According to Paris, DEIS did not have the capacity to compute the data, "but now they do."

On Thursday, health authorities reported at least 2,475 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the country's total to approximately 323,698. The country also reported at least 104 new virus-related deaths, bringing the total to approximately 7,290.

5:25 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Johnson & Johnson in discussions to move up Covid-19 vaccine trial timeline

From CNN's Wes Bruer

Johnson & Johnson is moving forward with its vaccine trials.

The company will begin a Phase 1/2a trial for its vaccine candidate on July 22 in Belgium and the following week in the United States, Dr. Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer, said during an investor call on Thursday.  

Stoffels said that Johnson & Johnson is also “in discussion with the National Institutes of Health with the objective to start Phase 3 clinical trials ahead of its original schedule, potentially in late September.”  

The Phase 1/2a trials will include more than 1,000 healthy adults ages 18 to 55, as well as those 65 and older. The study will test the efficacy and safety of a single dose of the vaccine candidate, as well as a booster dose.

The results from the final study on the vaccine candidate in non-human primates is expected to be published “in a major scientific journal in the next coming weeks,” Stoffels added. 

5:23 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

New study finds no effect of blood type on coronavirus severity

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A new study finds no evidence that blood type affects whether someone develops severe symptoms from a coronavirus infection.

People should not worry that having a certain blood type places them at higher risk of either infection or severe illness, the team at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston said.

Some researchers had found evidence that blood type might affect a person’s risk from coronavirus, so the team took a look back at records from all adult patients who tested positive for coronavirus at five hospitals in March and April.

“In this large, multi-institutional, retrospective review, there was no association noted between ABO blood type and COVID-19 disease severity defined as intubation or death,” they wrote in the journal Annals of Hematology.

“We showed through a multi-institutional study that there is no reason to believe being a certain ABO blood type will lead to increased disease severity, which we defined as requiring intubation or leading to death,” said Dr. Anahita Dua of Mass General, who led the study team. “This evidence should help put to rest previous reports of a possible association between blood type A and a higher risk for COVID-19 infection and mortality.”

The team did find evidence that people with blood types B and AB who were Rh+ were more likely to test positive for coronavirus, and that people with blood type O were less likely to test positive – even if they had symptoms.

“These findings need to be further explored to determine if there is something inherent in these blood types that might potentially confer protection or induce risk in individuals,” Dua said in a statement.

“A final element worthy of discussion is that there is certainly a racial element to ABO blood typing,” the researchers wrote.

It’s also becoming clear that Black and other ethnic minorities are more likely to have severe coronavirus disease symptoms. “However, the full effects of ethnicity on COVID-19 susceptibility and severity warrant further investigation,” the researchers wrote.

5:26 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

There are roughly 140 Miami Police Department employees self-quarantining

From CNN’s Dan Shepherd

Wilfredo Lee/AP/FILE
Wilfredo Lee/AP/FILE

The Miami Police Department currently has 140 of its employees, which includes officers and civilian employees, self-quarantined at home, or "isolated in a safe place" due to possible exposures to Covid-19, according to two spokespeople from the department.

Of those 140 employees, 68 of them are police officers who tested positive for Covid-19.

Officer Kiara Delva told CNN that none of the 140 employees are currently hospitalized and that the Miami Police Department has about 1,315 officers on their force.  

5:20 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

The fight against Covid-19 is likely to get harder, Arkansas governor says

From CNN’s Janine Mack

Office of Asa Hutchinson
Office of Asa Hutchinson

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the fight against Covid-19 is "likely to get harder and not easier" ahead of a statewide mask mandate on June 20.

“We have to meet the challenge together, and everyone must do their part,” Hutchinson said during a news conference on Thursday.

The latest numbers: The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting at least 31,114 total positive cases of coronavirus and approximately 341 deaths since the pandemic began. 

That's an increase of at least 817 new cases and six more deaths since yesterday, according to the Health Department.

Hutchinson said after resisting for months, the face mask mandate was needed in Arkansas, because of the number of cases hospitalizations and deaths. 

The governor said he listened to doctors and nurses, who asked the public to do more to stay safe. He said he heard from legislators, who according to the governor said, even though they don’t like it, they will do whatever it takes to stop coronavirus. 

Hutchinson said he considered the mandate for children and grandchildren, who will be going back to school and with most schools will require the wearing of masks, adults must help them get ready.

“I want everybody to understand that this is a mandate. It does carry consequences, it is enforceable, but it's being implemented in a way that allows for normal activities. Whenever you can do the social and physical distancing. But this is something that is necessary. Under the current environment, and then let me go to our case announcements,” Hutchinson said.

The latest numbers: The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting at least 31,114 total positive cases of coronavirus and approximately 341 deaths since the pandemic began. 

That's an increase of at least 817 new cases and six more deaths since yesterday, according to the Health Department. 

5:25 p.m. ET, July 16, 2020

Connecticut reports 114 new cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Connecticut reported 114 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced in a news conference.

The current statewide total now stands at 47,750 Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began. The state reported nine new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 4,389, Lamont said.

For the first time: The governor provided a breakdown of the age range of newly reported cases in Connecticut over the last week.

For the period of July 5 through July 11, the largest percentage of new cases were in people ages 20 to 29, followed by 30 to 39-year-olds.

Lamont said that worried him, particularly since other states are experiencing spikes in cases right now.