July 19 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jenni Marsh and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 12:50 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020
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11:16 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Masks being politicized is bizarre, NIH director says 

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

from NBC
from NBC

“It is bizarre that we have turned the mask wearing into something political,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. 

Using an analogy of an alien coming to the planet Earth and looking around at mask wearing, Collins said that they would be astounded, puzzled and amazed. 

“You’d wonder what is going on here? How could it be that something as basic as a public health that we have very strong evidence can help, seems to attach to people’s political party,” he said. “For starters, could we just walk away from that and say this is about all of us?” said Collins. 

He said that Americans are pretty good at rising to challenges and crises, that they have done it before during wartime.

“This is not a war, but in a certain way it is against the enemy which is called the virus, and that virus is very sneaky and stealthy,” Collins said. “Our best chance is for all of us to get together and do the right thing and stop fighting so much about the divide between different political perspectives which is just getting in the way.” 

Collins made a point to wear his mask as his interview started, explaining that he had been wearing it since he left his house, and was removing it because the only other person with him in the NIH studio was ten feet away. 

“I didn’t want anybody to think that we take masks as something optional for people who want to protect themselves and people around them,” Collins said. 

10:40 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Mississippi governor defends not issuing a statewide mask mandate

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

Rogelio V. Solis/AFP/Getty Images
Rogelio V. Solis/AFP/Getty Images

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said he would have issued a statewide mask mandate "a long time ago," if he believed it was the best way to save lives in his state.

CNN’s Jake Tapper pressed the governor on "State of the Union" on why he had issued a mask mandate for only 13 out of 82 counties in Mississippi. Reeves told Tapper, “my view is the best way for me to get my constituents to adhere to those simple things. If we will do the little things, we can make a difference in slowing the spread of this virus. The best way to do that is to highlight those counties where it's most needed.”

Reeves went on to say, “it's not about the words you write on the page. It's not about these words like mandate. It's about how do you get the majority of your citizens to actually adhere to doing what's right?”

He said wearing a mask, social distancing and not gathering in large crowds is the "right things to do" to combat the spread of the virus.

“I do believe that wearing masks and maintaining social distancing is a strategy worth implementing,” Reeves later added.
10:20 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Trump admits he made mistakes in the coronavirus response but says he "will be right eventually"

From CNN’s Kristen Holmes 

Fox News
Fox News

President Donald Trump defended his relationship with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, but called him “a little bit of an alarmist” as he answered questions about the White House’s relationship with him during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

During this back and forth, Trump ultimately admitted that he himself had made some mistakes in the coronavirus response, but said he would “be right eventually” in reference to his past prediction that the virus would go away.

When asked about the White House providing documents outlining Fauci’s errors early on in the pandemic and efforts by some administration officials to discredit the nation’s top infectious expert, the President did criticize him when he used the term “bit of an alarmist” and noted that Fauci was wrong on a series of events surrounding the coronavirus pandemic including his original stance on masks.

Fauci early in the pandemic had asked the public not to go out and buy the N-95 masks because they were needed by health professionals. He has now strongly advocated for people to wear some type of face coverage.

The President also claimed that Fauci told him not to ban travel from China, but later told the President that the decision “saved tens of thousands of lives.” Early in the pandemic Fauci did raise some questions about how effective such a ban might be. 

Fox’s Chris Wallace then pressed Trump on his own mistakes, to which the President responded, “I guess everyone makes mistakes,” and went on to add that he would “be right eventually” on the pandemic. 

When Wallace asked if his errors discredited him, the President said he didn’t think so because he has “been right probably more than anybody else.” 

10:04 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Mississippi governor says nearly 900 people are hospitalized in the state with Covid-19

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves appeared on CNN's State of Union with Jake Tapper today where he was asked about the state's record-high hospitalizations from coronavirus.

Reeves told Tapper the number of people hospitalized in the state has nearly doubled in just over three weeks.

"The number on June 27 was approximately 490 patients in hospital beds," Reeves said. "Today that number is closer to 890."

He added: "We haven't quite doubled. But we are seeing significantly increased hospitalization."

Reeves said that the state is working with its hospitals to "surge capacity" for ICU beds.

"Our goal in Mississippi is that every single Mississippian that can get better with quality that, they receive that quality care," he said.

9:35 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

New York reaches new low for Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Covid-19 hospitalizations continue to drop across New York State and health officials are seeing a new low since March 18 as hospitalizations are down to 722.

The number of hospitalizations is down from 743 reported yesterday, according to a release from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. 

The state reported 502 additional Covid-19 cases as of yesterday and 13 additional deaths from the virus, the release says. 

"We're continuing to progress forward through the COVID-19 pandemic in the face of a continued explosion of cases throughout the United States, and that's reflected in today's hospitalizations—the lowest number since March 18—and rate of positive cases," Cuomo said in the release. 

New York has a statewide total of 406,807 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 25,048 deaths from the virus, the release says. 

One thing to note: The numbers listed were released by the state of New York and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

9:26 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Trump pauses interview to dispute coronavirus mortality rate figures

From CNN's Sarah Westwood 

from Fox News
from Fox News

President Trump sparred with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace over the US mortality rate for Covid-19, at one point stopping the interview to demand White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany bring him charts showing the mortality rate figures he was citing.

Pressed by Wallace on why the US has the seventh-highest mortality rate in the world, Trump interjected to say the US has a much lower rate.

“When you talk about mortality rates, I think it's the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world,” Trump said.

He soon called for McEnany, who was off camera, to bring charts. 

“I hope you show the scenario because it shows what fake news is all about,” Trump said.

Wallace later noted he was citing Johns Hopkins University numbers, while Trump was reading from European CDC numbers that showed a different ranking for the US listed.

The data cited by the White House did not include all of the countries included in the Johns Hopkins numbers..

8:47 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

This is the last week that Americans will receive the $600 coronavirus unemployment payments

From CNN's Tami Luhby

People line up outside a Kentucky Career Center hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claim in Frankfort, Kentucky, on June 18.
People line up outside a Kentucky Career Center hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claim in Frankfort, Kentucky, on June 18. Bryan Woolston/Reuters

The end is near for the $600 federal lifeline for millions of unemployed Americans -- even though the economy is still far from recovered from the coronavirus pandemic and new layoffs are being announced regularly. 

When does it expire: The coronavirus relief program technically doesn't expire until July 31, but this coming week will be the last for which benefits are paid -- because payments are only provided for weeks ending on either Saturday or Sunday.

Jobless Americans will still get state unemployment benefits, but the sunset of the Congress' $600 enhancement -- part of the $2 trillion economic aid package passed in March -- will leave more than 25 million people thousands of dollars poorer each month. And it will expose more of the real pain of mass unemployment, just as many states are reimposing shutdowns.

"These emergency unemployment benefits have been propping up families and propping up the economy now for several months, said Kali Grant, senior policy analyst at the Georgetown Center on Poverty & Inequality. "Ending the benefits prematurely will really set back any economic recovery that may have been on the way."

What happens next: Congressional lawmakers are beginning to work this week on the next economic stimulus package. But it's unlikely they'll agree on -- much less approve -- the next step to help unemployed Americans before the payments lapse.

Read more about this here.

8:12 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Buckingham Palace reveals photos from a socially distanced royal wedding

From CNN's Amy Woodyatt in London

Buckingham Palace has released photographs from the private wedding of the UK's Princess Beatrice, who married real estate developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on Friday in a ceremony at Windsor Castle attended by Queen Elizabeth II.

Beatrice, who is ninth in line to the British throne and a granddaughter of the Queen and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was walked down the aisle by her father, Prince Andrew, Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Saturday.

Photographs released by Buckingham Palace Saturday show the princess standing at a distance from her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, and grandfather, Prince Philip.

Beatrice and Mapelli Mozzi have been engaged since last September but the coronavirus pandemic interfered with the original wedding date of May 29.

"The couple decided to hold a small private ceremony with their parents and siblings following the postponement of their wedding in May," the palace said in a statement Saturday, adding that the ceremony took place at The Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor.

"Working within government guidelines, the service was in keeping with the unique circumstances while enabling them to celebrate their wedding with their closest family," the palace said.

Read the full story here.

7:42 a.m. ET, July 19, 2020

Demonstrations in Israel over coronavirus crisis and corruption trial

From CNN's Oren Liebermann and Amir Tal in Jerusalem

Protesters chant slogans as they march during an anti-government demonstration in Jerusalem, on July 18, 2020.
Protesters chant slogans as they march during an anti-government demonstration in Jerusalem, on July 18, 2020. Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP

Demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Saturday night, protesting both the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, as well as calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over his corruption trial.

Police say 13 people were arrested in Tel Aviv for causing public disturbances and throwing objects at police, while 15 people were arrested in Jerusalem for public disturbances and blocking roads.

They are the latest in a series of demonstrations against Netanyahu and took place just hours before the resumption of his trial on bribery and breach of trust charges. The PM has not entered a plea, but has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence.

A judge at Jerusalem’s district court wrapped the trial’s second day of procedural hearings by deciding that the hearing of evidence and the calling of witnesses would begin in January 2021, with three days of hearings a week. The 70-year old Israeli leader was not required to attend Sunday’s hearing.   

Weekend lockdowns imposed as infections hit highs: Meanwhile, the number of new coronavirus infections continues to hit new daily records. On Thursday, Israel recorded a new daily high of 1,929 coronavirus cases, breaking the previous record set one day earlier.

The surge in cases has prompted the government to impose weekend lockdowns, shuttering many places where people can gather, including museums, zoos, stores, and malls. Beaches will be closed starting next weekend.