New forecast projects more than 157,000 US coronavirus deaths by August 8
From CNN’s Ben Tinker
An ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects more than 157,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by August 8.
This week’s national forecast relies on 24 individual forecasts from outside institutions and researchers. The new projections, published Wednesday, forecast 157,204 deaths by August 8, with a possible range of 149,957 to 168,305 deaths.
"The state-level ensemble forecasts suggest that the number of new deaths over the next four weeks will likely exceed the number reported over the last four weeks in 22 states and 2 territories," the CDC says on its forecasting website. "The jurisdictions with the greatest likelihood of a larger number of deaths include: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, the Virgin Islands, and West Virginia."
Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections about a month into the future. The previous ensemble forecast, published last Thursday, projected roughly 147,000 coronavirus deaths by August 1.
At least 139,266 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
1:57 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
This expert is optimistic an "effective" coronavirus treatment will be available within 3 months
From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman
The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, said he’s “optimistic” an “effective treatment” for Covid-19 will be available in two to three months.
“There is a lot of progress in therapeutics,” Collins told CNN Friday. “We have two proven drugs -- remdesivir and dexamethasone, both proven in rigorous randomized control trials, which is the only way you really know if something works.”
What are they: Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that has been shown to reduce the amount of time people are ill with Covid-19. Dexamethasone is a steroid that may reduce the rate of deaths among seriously ill patients.
“And we're in the process of starting, just in the very near future, clinical trials on other compounds -- for instance, anticoagulants,” Collins said. “We know that people who get very sick, there's something that happens, the blood clots start forming and we could probably help them a lot if we tried to block that. And, maybe most exciting for therapeutics in my view, the use of monoclonal antibodies derived from people who have survived, who have made these antibodies that help them recover, and those can now be turned into products and those trials will get started very soon as well. “I'm optimistic, without being able to be confident completely, that we'll have something maybe as soon as two or three months from now, in terms of an effective treatment.”
What about a vaccine? Collins is also optimistic about the development of a successful vaccine by the end of the year.
“The first vaccine trial, as you probably heard, building on very successful preliminary data, will get started around about July 27 all across the southern part of the country where the virus is spreading and we're going to find out whether it works by asking 30,000 people to join," he said.
Collins says if one of the vaccine trials is successful, there will be “tens of millions of doses ready to go by the end of 2020, the end of the calendar year.”
“That’s never been done before at this speed. We’re not compromising on the safety. We'll be sure that they work, but if it does, we'll be ready to go … as soon as possible,” he added.
But Collins said he’s worried about what he sees as some Americans’ skepticism of vaccines, adding that it’s important for everyone to get the vaccine when it’s available.
“One of the things I'm worried about is there's a lot of skepticism in America about the vaccine and something like 25% of people say I'm not sure I would take that vaccine,” he said. “It'll be really critical to do that if we're going to develop the level of herd immunity across the country so that this doesn't come roaring back the next time, the next fall, the next summer. We won’t know."
1:56 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Death row inmate gets temporary reprieve from execution due to Covid-19
From CNN’s Andy Rose
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued a temporary reprieve to a death row inmate Friday, citing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Harold Wayne Nichols was convicted of raping and killing Karen Pulley in 1988. Before the reprieve was announced, Nichols was scheduled to be executed on August 4.
“I am granting Harold Wayne Nichols a temporary reprieve from execution until December 31, 2020, due to the challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lee wrote on Twitter.
Some context: Nichols’ legal team had asked the Tennessee Supreme Court for a stay of execution due to coronavirus. "The pandemic has necessitated numerous restrictions which curb the activities of Mr. Nichols’ legal team," it said in the petition. However, the state’s high court unanimously denied the request on June 4.
Lee’s order does not state a specific reason why the execution should be delayed as a result of the pandemic.
1:56 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
More than half of this Texas prison's 1,798 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus
The Federal Bureau of Prisons reported on Friday that 1,072 inmates have tested positive for Covid-19 in Seagoville Federal Correctional Institution in Texas.
The facility is a low-security institution with an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp and a detention center. It has a total population of 1,798 inmates, according to its website.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons stated on its website that it began additional testing of asymptomatic inmates to assist in "slowing transmissions within a correctional setting."
1:56 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
Colombia reports record number of Covid-19 deaths for second consecutive day
From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon
Colombia's health ministry reported a record 8,934 new coronavirus cases on Friday -- taking the country's total number of infections to 182,140 since the pandemic began.
The ministry reported another 259 related deaths, also a record. Colombia's death toll now stands at 6,288.
The rising case numbers come as President Ivan Duque resists calls to impose a total lockdown in the country’s most affected areas.
1:33 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
China reports 22 new coronavirus cases, including 16 in Xinjiang
From CNN's Shanshan Wang and Isaac Yee
China reported 22 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) announced on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 16 were local infections found in the western region of Xinjiang, according to the NHC. The other six were imported.
Authorities are on high alert after a reemergence of the virus in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital, on Thursday. The region hadn't reported any new local infections for months.
On Friday, the state-run Global Times reported that almost 90% of flights in Urumqi were canceled, after the city reported six confirmed cases.
China also reported 14 asymptomatic cases Friday, according to the NHC.
1:29 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020
85 babies have tested positive for Covid-19 in one Texas county
Corpus Christi Nueces County Director of Public Health Annette Rodriguez said Friday that 85 babies under the age of one have tested positive for Covid-19 there.
"I have been reviewing statistics. We currently have 85 babies, under the age of one year in Nueces County, that have all tested positive for Covid-19," Rodriguez said in a Public Health District meeting. "These babies have not even had their first birthday yet."
Earlier in the meeting, Corpus Christi city manager Peter Zanoni discussed the spike in cases in Nueces County.
"Amongst metropolitan counties in Texas, Nueces County has the fastest growing, the fastest case growth in new cases right now on the seven-day average than any other metropolitan county in the state," he said. "And that's a problem."
Corpus Christi has a total of 8,171 Covid-19 cases, with 82 related deaths.