July 18 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Brett McKeehan, Tara John, Alaa Elassar, Veronica Rocha and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 0427 GMT (1227 HKT) July 19, 2020
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11:07 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

At least 39 states have implemented some type of face mask requirement

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

People walk past face mask signs along Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans on July 14.
People walk past face mask signs along Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans on July 14. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Local and state leaders have responded to the guidance to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of the virus with both support and opposition.

Science shows that face masks protect the wearer and those around them from coronavirus, and everyone should wear one when around others in public, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

What we know: At least 39 states as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico have implemented some type of face mask requirement.

But in Georgia —which is among the 18 states in the coronavirus "red zone" that should roll back reopening measures, according to an unpublished document prepared for the White House — the governor has clashed with mayors on such restrictions.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Thursday over her efforts to require face masks in public places. Several other mayors say they are prohibited from enacting the mask requirements supported by their residents because of on order from Kemp. 

And in Utah, a public meeting about a mask policy was abruptly canceled when people without face coverings packed the room. The crowd booed when it was called off.

"This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing," Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge said at the meeting room in Provo. "We're supposed to be physically distancing, wearing masks. This gathering violates current health recommendations."

10:14 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Here's the latest coronavirus update from New York state

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A person commutes on the subway in Brooklyn on June 22.
A person commutes on the subway in Brooklyn on June 22. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

There were 11 coronavirus-related fatalities reported across New York State Friday — including two in the New York City area — bringing the state death toll to 25,035, the governor’s office said in a statement.

New York state added 754 Covid-19 cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The state has reported a total of 406,305 confirmed cases.

Patient hospitalizations are down to 743, a new low since March 18.

New York City reported a 1.3% positivity rate in testing for Friday.

“We remain alarmed by spikes in much of the country and the risk of a lack of compliance at home as the state pursues a phased, data-driven reopening," Cuomo said Saturday.

“New Yorkers' vigilance, courage and adoption of basic behaviors—mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing—has driven our ability to control the virus, and we have to continue on that path to success.” 

Note: These numbers were released by New York State’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

10:16 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Moroccan seasonal workers who were trapped in Spain start their journey home

From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro in Madrid

More than 7,000 Moroccans, most of them women, are stranded in Spain after their country closed its borders to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Of the 7,200 Moroccan women, who were trapped in Spain after their fruit picking jobs ended, 1,221 leave today for Morocco.

A spokesperson for Interfresa, one of the biggest strawberry pickers associations in Spain, told CNN "the are extremely happy and excited to go home."

Some background: They arrived in Spain to pick fruit in March, sending their earnings back home to families, and were trapped when the season ended in May.

Interfresa said that some workers had been in the country as early as December, and added that it was in "daily contact" with the governments of Spain and Morocco.

The two countries signed an agreement in 2001 granting the seasonal workers temporary visas to harvest fruit in Spain.

8:39 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

UK government's Covid-19 daily deaths update "paused" amid "urgent review"

From CNN’s Hilary McGann in London


The UK government’s daily coronavirus death toll update has been “paused” by the Department of Health, after Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Friday called for an “urgent review” into how Covid-19 deaths in England are counted.

“Currently the daily deaths measure counts all people who have tested positive for coronavirus and since died, with no cut-off between time of testing and date of death,” an update on the Department’s website said on Friday. 

“There have been claims that the lack of cut-off may distort the current daily deaths number,” the update also said.

However, Public Health England (PHE) will still continue to publish daily updates on their website while a review is conducted and will review if necessary upon the conclusion of an investigation, a spokesperson told CNN on Saturday.

“We must remember that this is a new and emerging infection and there is increasing evidence of long term health problems for some of those affected,” PHE’S Incident Director, Dr. Susan Hopkins, said in a statement Saturday.

According to PHE, of the 40,528 Covid-19 deaths reported by July 15 in England, approximately 90% of them occurred within 28 days of a positive test.

This leaves 4,149 deaths that occurred more than 28 days after a positive results – with 47% of those deaths listing Covid-19 as the main cause of death.

8:18 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Coronavirus cases in Latin America and the Caribbean nearing 3.7 million

From CNN's Mia Alberti, Taylor Barnes, and journalist Márcia Reverdosa in São Paulo 

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Latin America and the Caribbean is nearing 3.7 million, with more than 3,698,723 confirmed cases and at least 157,336 deaths as of Saturday, according to a CNN tally based on data from Johns Hopkins University.

Brazil is the most affected country in the region, having registered more than 2 million cases on Thursday. 

Southern and central-western Brazilian states that had been spared the worst of Brazil’s Covid-19 outbreak are now seeing a rapid rise in cases.

The "epicenter" of the outbreak in Brazil is now believed to be the state of Mato Grosso, according to Fiocruz, a Rio de Janeiro based government science research institute after the state registered an increase of 460% cases in 10 days in July.

Read more here:

7:09 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

I can't shake Covid-19: Warnings from young survivors still suffering

From CNN's Ryan Prior

Jordan Josey, 29, suffered a partially collapsed lung due to Covid-19.
Jordan Josey, 29, suffered a partially collapsed lung due to Covid-19.

Daniel Green is still hobbled by the severe viral infection that struck him in March and left him coughing up blood.

Three months ago, the 28-year-old postdoctoral research associate from Newcastle, United Kingdom, was on the road with friends in a band as they toured venues in the French Alps.

He came down with Covid-19 symptoms, and like many coronavirus patients, spent weeks in bed.

Unlike other people, however, Green's life hasn't returned to normal.

"Since then it's been on and off with extreme tiredness and fatigue," he said.

Every day he has brain fog, difficulty concentrating and problems with short-term memory that make reading, writing and speaking harder.

"Breathing has been very difficult," he said. "I don't feel like I have my full breath capacity. If I go for a walk for one minute, I'll be really exhausted."

The profound mark the disease has made on Green's life isn't uncommon.

"About 80% are going to experience a mild or asymptomatic version of Covid. It's the other 20% that we're worried about," said Dr. Luis Ostrosky-Zeichner, a professor of medicine at the University of Texas McGovern Medical School.

"One out of five patients are going to get a severe form of the disease."

Some young people are not getting better: As case counts among young people rise, Green and others in their 20s want to share stories of the wreckage Covid-19 has wrought in their lives.

Those patients can potentially experience permanent lung damage, including scarring and reduced lower respiratory capacity.

"The thing that we don't yet fully appreciate is what happens when you get infected, and you get serious disease, and you recover?" said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at the BIO International Convention in June.

"We don't know the extent of full recovery or partial recovery, so there's a lot we need to learn," he said.

Young people, who are less likely to die from coronavirus than their grandparents, are an important target of those lessons.

Whether they contracted the virus among the snow-capped peaks of the Alps or in the heart of the outbreak in New York City's borough of Queens, some 20-somethings are getting sick from Covid-19. And staying sick.

Their stories are a warning from millennials to millennials: Don't play the odds with coronavirus because this disease could permanently damage your body.

Read the rest of the piece here:

7:00 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Weather forecasts are less accurate because of Covid-19, study reveals

From CNN Meteorologists Allison Chinchar and Virginia Langmaid

Hurricane Hunters prepare for mission
Hurricane Hunters prepare for mission

As the US heads into peak hurricane season, a reduction in commercial airline flights due to Covid-19 has significantly affected our ability to accurately forecast the weather.

A study out this week by Dr. Ying Chen, a senior research associate at Lancaster University's Environment Centre, highlights this problem.

The study found the "accuracy of surface meteorology forecast in March-May 2020 decreases remarkably" as flight density drops due to Covid-19.

The research examined weather forecasts from March 2020 and compared them to actual observed weather in the same time frame.

"It is the temperature forecast where accuracy went down," says Chen. Patterns of hot and cold air are critical in hurricane formation and prediction. If temperatures cannot be tracked accurately, it could be more challenging to identify hotspots early on.

Read more here:

6:14 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Dozens of babies test positive for coronavirus in one Texas county

From CNN's Faith Karimi and Raja Razek

Eighty-five infants under the age of 12 months have tested positive for coronavirus in one Texas county. And local officials are imploring residents to help stop its spread as the state becomes one of the newest hotspots.

Since January, health authorities have identified more than 3.6 million Covid-19 cases throughout the United States. Nearly 140,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In Texas' Nueces County, where Corpus Christi is located, the number of new coronavirus cases skyrocketed in July after a flattening trend. The virus has infected dozens of babies and local officials are urging people to wear masks and practice social distancing.

"We currently have 85 babies under the age of one year in Nueces County that have all tested positive for Covid-19," said Annette Rodriguez, director of public health for Corpus Christi Nueces County.

"These babies have not even had their first birthday yet. Please help us stop the spread of this disease."

She did not provide additional details on their conditions.

What's happening: Nueces County has the fastest growth in new cases on the seven-day average than any other metropolitan county in the state," said Peter Zanoni, the Corpus Christi city manager.

Read more here:

5:10 a.m. ET, July 18, 2020

Two more US military personnel test positive in Japan

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

The US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan in Japan's southern island prefecture of Okinawa.
The US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan in Japan's southern island prefecture of Okinawa.

Two more U.S military personnel based on the Japanese island of Okinawa have tested positive the virus, according to officials in Okinawa prefecture. 

Some 143 of US military personnel and their families in Japan have tested positive for the virus since July 1. 

The latest cases were from Futenma base in Okinawa, while the other cases are spread across six U.S military facilities across Japan.

Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono said Friday he had asked the U.S. to test all military-related personnel arriving into the country, regardless of whether they were showing symptoms or not.

More: United States military personnel on the Okinawa are on virtual lockdown after dozens of cases emerged on several US Marine Corps bases there.

The lockdown order, issued last weekend, bans almost all off-base movement by the tens of thousands of US military personnel on the bases unless approved by an officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel or above.