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
40 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
9:58 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020

New York City enters phase 4 of reopening today — but it's not the same as the rest of the state

New York City is entering phase four of reopening today, but it's a slightly different phase four than other parts of New York state experienced.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that indoor dining would not be allowed to resume in phase four since it's considered a "high risk" activity.

In other parts of the state, indoor dining was allowed to resume in phase three.

De Blasio also announced that museums will also be “still closed for now." But shopping malls are included in phase four for areas of the state outside of New York City, according to state guidelines.

So here's a look at what will open in New York City's phase four, according to the mayor:

  • Low-risk outdoor entertainment activities, including things like botanical gardens and zoos, can reopen at a reduced capacity of 33%. 
  • Production of movies and TV shows can proceed.
  • Sports can come back but without audiences.
9:57 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020

At least 10 ICUs in Florida's Miami-Dade are at capacity

At least 10 adult ICUs in Miami-Dade County, the epicenter of Florida's coronavirus pandemic, have no beds available, according to Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration website as of 9 a.m. ET today.

For context, there are at least 24 hospitals in Miami Dade County with adult ICU bed capabilities. Ten of them — more than 40% — are at capacity. 

Nearby Broward County has at least six ICUs with 0% of bed available, according to the website.

You can check the ICU capacity at hospitals across Florida here.

9:47 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020

These two Atlanta colleges will shift to digital learning this fall, students will not return to campus

From CNN's Tina Burnside

Morehouse and Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, announced on Monday that students will not be returning to campus for the Fall 2020 semester due to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases. 

"Because of the worsening health crisis, we have reluctantly come to the realization that we can no longer safely sustain a residential campus and in-person instruction. With a sense of great disappointment, I now share with you our decision that all instruction for the fall of 2020 at Spelman will be virtual," Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said in a statement.

Both colleges had fully anticipated that they would open campuses for in-person instruction for the fall semester however due to the worsening health crisis in both the city of Atlanta and Fulton County, the colleges changed course, according to a news release. 

It remains unclear if the schools will reopen their campuses for students for the Spring 2021 semester. 

9:36 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020

 Iraq nears 100,000 Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali and Aqeel Najim

Iraq on Monday recorded 2,163 new coronavirus cases, according to the country's health ministry.

This brings the total number of Covid-19 cases in Iraq to 94,693 according to the ministry.

The health ministry also reported 88 new Covid-19-related deaths, bringing the total to 3,869 deaths across the country.

9:35 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Bankers association urges America's banks to adopt mask policy

From CNN’s Cristina Alesci

The American Bankers Association (ABA), which represents large and small banks, joined other business groups in calling for its members to adopt national mask mandates “to protect the health of bank employees and customers.”  

"We owe it to frontline bank staff to prioritize their safety and to contribute to the wider effort to limit the spread of this infection," said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO, in a release on Monday.

Last week, The National Retail Federation urged all retailers to adopt a nationwide masks policies for customers. 

Other groups, including the Business Roundtable and the US Chamber of Commerce, lobbied President Trump and governors to enact a “national mask standard, implemented locally.”  

CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report

9:41 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Getting retested for Covid-19 multiple times is completely unnecessary, US health official says

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

US Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services Admiral Brett Giroir told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that getting retested multiple times for Covid-19 is unnecessary, if someone has been symptom-free for three or more days, or if it has been 10 or more days since the onset of their symptoms.

“It has always been a CDC guideline,” Giroir said on New Day Monday, “that if you are 10 days or more since the onset of your symptoms and you’re three days or more symptom free, you do not need to be retested.”

“We have lots of data now that shows after eight or nine days, you cannot transmit the virus – the virus is gone,” he said. “What we’re seeing now is people getting retested four, five, six, eight times – and that’s completely unnecessary.”

Giroir also said that it is known that PCR tests can be positive and a person not be infectious. This can keep people out of schools and workplaces unnecessarily.

“It wastes resources, clogs up the system and it’s unnecessary,” Giroir said. “You do not need to be retested if you follow those clinical guidelines.”

The exception is if you’re in the hospital, very sick or immunocompromised, as you can shed the virus for a lot longer and that is a different situation, according to Giroir.


11:46 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020

There's "hope" for an agreement on EU coronavirus recovery fund, German chancellor says 

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt and Fred Pleitgen

German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a statement at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, on July 19.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a statement at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, on July 19. Francisco Seco/Pool/AP

European Union leaders have come up with a "framework" for a possible agreement on the EU coronavirus recovery fund after overnight negotiations, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Brussels.

"Last night — after long negotiations — we have come up with a framework for a possible agreement. That is progress — and it gives us hope that there may be an agreement today or at least that an agreement is possible," Merkel said on Monday.

EU leaders have been locked in heated negotiations about the economic recovery plan for three days, including overnight Sunday into Monday, with the sticking points including the size of loans versus grants.

Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, the so-called "Frugal Four," had vehemently opposed the idea of 500 billion euros ($571 billion) in grants over concerns of loading their countries with national debt to fund the spending of other countries.

Whereas countries like Spain and Italy said they couldn’t accept a reduction in the volume of grants.

Merkel said it was "clear negotiations would be incredibly tough" but that negotiations continue. 

"But extraordinary situations also require extraordinary efforts. So far we have lived up to this and I hope we will be able to make it the rest of the distance, which will not be easy," Merkel told reporters.

9:25 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Peru records slight increase in Covid-19 cases since lockdown eased, health minister says

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza

Workers disinfect streets in Puno, Peru, on July 17.
Workers disinfect streets in Puno, Peru, on July 17. Carlos Mamani/AFP/Getty Images

Peru’s Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti admitted Covid-19 cases have increased in the country since the government eased the total lockdown and resumed some economic activities on July 1.

“At the moment we are seeing a slight increase” Mazzetti told a local TV station on Sunday evening.

“If we continue to see an increase we would need to take other measures” Mazzetti added and acknowledged the government is handling the pandemic with limited resources.

On Sunday evening, Peru’s Health Ministry reported 4,090 new Covid-19 cases bringing the total number to 353,590. The number of new cases in the last 24 hours is the highest increase in the last 10 days. Lima region, Peru’s capital, continues to be the area with the highest number of infections.

Peru’s government has extended the country’s state of emergency until July 31 and allowed localized lockdowns in 7 of 24 regions, permitting some economic activities to resume gradually. On Monday, restaurants in these regions are expected to reopen with a limit of 40% of their capacity. 

Peru has the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases in Latin America, after Brazil.


9:10 a.m. ET, July 20, 2020

Walmart will require all customers to wear face masks starting today

From CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn

People shop at a Walmart in Burbank, California, on July 15.
People shop at a Walmart in Burbank, California, on July 15. Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Walmart will require customers at all of its US stores to wear masks beginning today, becoming the largest retailer to mandate facial coverings as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

About 65% of Walmart's more than 5,000 stores, including its Sam's Club locations, are located in areas where there is a government mandate on face coverings.

"To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20," Walmart US chief operating officer Dacona Smith and Sam's Club chief operating officer Lance De La Rosa said in a blog post last week. "This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols."

Although no federal mandate to wear a mask exists, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says everyone "should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public." The CDC said "face coverings are meant to protect other people."

Walmart said it will enforce the new policy by stationing "health ambassadors" near the entrance to remind shoppers of the requirement.

Some background: Other national chains have made similar moves as Walmart. Kroger and Kohl's announced they would start requiring all customers to wear masks, signaling that more retailers are lining up behind mask-wearing mandates. The National Retail Federation, the main lobbying group for the industry, also called on retailers to require masks for customers.

Most major retailers and grocers initially hesitated to enact their own mask mandates for customers during the pandemic, partly over fears of antagonizing shoppers who refuse to wear them. Retailers have said they are reluctant to put their employees in the position of enforcing mask requirements.