July 20 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Brad Lendon, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 12:40 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020
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6:00 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Health minister warns coronavirus circulation is increasing in France

From Pierre Buet in Paris

French Health Minister Olivier Veran arrives at the Grand Palais prior to a reception gathering 800 medical staff that helped during the novel coronavirus crisis in Paris, on July 13.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran arrives at the Grand Palais prior to a reception gathering 800 medical staff that helped during the novel coronavirus crisis in Paris, on July 13. Raphael Lafargue/AFP/Getty Images

The circulation of coronavirus in France is “increasing,” according to the Ministry of Health, with at least 400 active “clusters” of the virus reported across the country.

"This is reflected in an increase in the number of calls to SOS doctors, visits to the emergency room, the number of clusters and hospitalizations,” the French health ministry said Monday in a statement. 

“This moderate increase is due to the fact that a very insufficient proportion of patients with symptoms carry out a virological test and isolate themselves," the statement added. 

Speaking during a televised interview on Monday, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said that there are concerns of a possible resurgence in the national health crisis, but affirmed that the country is “very far” from a second wave. 

"There are worrying signs of an epidemic resumption on national territory,” Veran said, adding that there have been “between 400 and 500 clusters" of coronavirus cases reported across the country, including the district of Mayenne, which he visited on Monday.

“We are on an increasing slope in the circulation of the virus, even if we start from low contamination rates,” Veran said. 

“We are very far from the [second] wave,” he added. 

According to Veran, the national reproduction rate of the virus is now "more than one,” meaning infection rates are likely to increase again following months of decline as a result of social distancing and confinement measures. 

As of Monday, a total of 176,754 coronavirus cases have been confirmed across France, with 30,177 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak.

At least 6,589 patients remain hospitalized with coronavirus, including 467 patients in intensive care. 

5:06 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

NBA says there's been no new positive Covid-19 test results since July 13

From CNN's David Close

The NBA and the players union have jointly announced that there have been zero positive Covid-19 test results from the 346 players tested since July 13. 

Back on July 13, the two sides announced that two players of the 322 tested had positive Covid-19 results within the Disney World Resort bubble.

Read the joint statement:  

"Of the 346 players tested for COVID-19 on the NBA campus since test results were last announced on July 13, zero have returned confirmed positive tests.  
In the event that a player on the NBA campus returns a confirmed positive test in the future, he will be isolated until he is cleared for leaving isolation under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association."
5:09 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Houston mayor says coronavirus has "taken a toll" on the city's workforce

From CNN’s Kay Jones

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

There are at least 884 new Covid-19 cases in Houston, Texas, and at least seven people have died from the virus in the city, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Houston stands at 36,985, and a total of 329 people have died from coronavirus, he said at a news conference.

The positivity rate in the city is at about 25.5%, according to the Houston Health Department.

The virus, Turner said, has “taken a toll on the city of Houston workforce.

At least 5% of employees from the Public Works Department are out due to testing positive, waiting for their test result or quarantining due to exposure to Covid-19, the head of the department said at the news conference.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said that 162 firefighters are in quarantine and 38 firefighters are currently positive. In total, 189 firefighters have tested positive and 151 are back at work. 

Peña went on to say that all fire stations are open and the fire department is doing all it can do to ensure they are there for the community. 

Note: These numbers were released by the Houston Heath Department, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

4:43 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Bill Gates will take questions at a CNN coronavirus town hall this week. Ask yours here.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates — whose foundation has pledged millions in Covid-19 relief efforts — will answer some viewers' questions during CNN coronavirus town hall this Thursday.

Leave your questions for Gates below, and tune in to the one-hour special on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

4:49 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Jacksonville sheriff expresses "significant concerns with the viability" of hosting RNC

From CNN's Keith Allen

With the Republican National Convention just over one month away, Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff Mike Williams issued a statement Monday questioning whether the event can still be held safely in his city.

“I am compelled to express my significant concerns with the viability of this event,” Williams said in the statement. “It is my sole responsibility to provide safety and security for our city and more importantly, for the citizens who I serve. With a growing list of challenges — be it finances, communication and timeline, I cannot say with confidence that this event and our community will not be at risk.”

Williams, a Republican, cited the short time-frame to organize the event, communications issues and concerns over reimbursement, as well as the surge in coronavirus cases as his reasons for trepidation.

"With a timetable that was aggressive to say the least, the communication required to make the critical steps come together just never seemed to gel. And still has not,” Williams said. “My team identified the key resources critical to this plan and, to date, I can only confirm that twenty-five percent (25%) of the ask has been answered. Some of this is due to concerns for reimbursement, while additional issues are related to the pandemic we are still facing."

“At this point, we are simply past the point of no return to execute the event with safety and security that is our obligation,” the sheriff added.

CNN is reaching out to both the RNC and the Trump campaign for comment.

4:37 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Fauci to throw out ceremonial first pitch on MLB Opening Day

From CNN's David Close

Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals have announced that the nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is set to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day on Thursday.

4:37 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

More breast and colorectal cancer deaths projected due to pandemic, Fauci says

From CNN's Marisa Peryer


Coronavirus won’t just kill people directly, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Monday.

He noted that people may die from preventable cancers because the pandemic has interrupted routine health care.

“Covid-19-related reductions in cancer screening because of the total country lockdown that we and other nations have experienced … over the next decade could actually result in 10,000 or more excess deaths from breast and colorectal cancer because of the reductions in routine screening,” Fauci told an American Association for Cancer Research conference.

Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cited the number from a June editorial written by US National Cancer Institute Director Norman Sharpless, published in the journal Science. The editorial also noted that Covid-19 has caused an “unprecedented disruption” in cancer research.

Two studies presented at the conference found that routine breast and prostate cancer screening rates have gone down due to Covid-19-related disruptions of care. Another study associated unemployment — rates of which skyrocketed between February and May — with drops in breast and colorectal screening compared to employed people, as the authors noted that unemployed adults often lack health insurance.

Cancer patients of any age are at increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


4:33 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Los Angeles County breaks daily record for hospitalizations

From CNN’s Jenn Selva

Los Angeles County has surpassed its record for daily hospitalizations for the fourth time in the past week, according to Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

There are 2,232 patients currently hospitalized with 26% of them in the intensive care units and 19% on ventilators, Ferrer said.

The county reported nine deaths Monday, but Ferrer said that low reporting is often seen over the weekend. So far, L.A. County has recorded 4,104 Covid-29 deaths and 92% of those had underlying conditions.

Ferrer announced 3,160 new cases on Monday.

4:40 p.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Kentucky reports highest single-day total of Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Sunday announced the largest single-day total of new Covid-19 cases in the state, with 979 newly reported cases.

According to the governor’s office, 30 cases were from children 5 years old and younger.

“I’m here to tell you now, that Sunday was a rude wake up call. Sunday is a warning, it’s a shot across the bow. If we don’t intervene, then we’re going to see the fate here in Kentucky that they’re seeing in some of these other states,” Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Department for Public Health, said Monday.

On Monday, the state announced 258 new cases of Covid-19.

“I expect that number will grow some tomorrow while it’s still catching up and unfortunately I expect the number to be much higher by Wednesday or Thursday,” the governor said. 

Beshear said the state also issued a travel advisory. The state is asking anyone who goes to a state with over a 15% positivity rate to quarantine for 14 days when they return.

“This is a request," Beshear said. "Let's make sure that we're not bringing this back into our communities."