July 21 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Steve George, Ivana Kottasová, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 3:23 p.m. ET, July 22, 2020
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11:50 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Trump gets "multiple" coronavirus tests a day, White House says

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Trump receives multiple coronavirus tests every day, the White House said Tuesday.

Explaining his reluctance to wear a mask in public, press secretary Kayleigh McEneny described Trump as the "most tested man in America" who doesn't risk spreading the virus to others.

"He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day," she said. "And we believe that he’s acting appropriately."

Asked a follow up about the frequency of President Trump's coronavirus tests, McEnany would say only that he is tested often but would not get into further details.

“Sometimes it is more than one time a day," she said.

Previously, the White House had indicated Trump received regular coronavirus tests, as did people who come into close proximity to him. But the frequency of the tests — multiple per day — wasn't known.

The White House utilizes the Abbott rapid test, which has drawn scrutiny for high rates of false negatives.

McEneny said Trump has been "consistent" on masks, even though he refused for months to be photographed wearing one and downplayed their importance in containing coronavirus.

11:51 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020

White House disputes administration is blocking money for testing in next stimulus package

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House on July 21 in Washington, DC.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House on July 21 in Washington, DC. Evan Vucci/AP

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany disputed that the administration is blocking additional funds for testing and contact tracing as part of the phase four stimulus package.

“No one is blocking any money from testing,” McEnany claimed at her briefing Tuesday morning.

McEnany said that there is currently $10 billion dollars is unspent funds for testing, and in the phase four negotiations, the administration wants to “make sure there is money that is targeted for money that makes the most sense.”

“We’re willing to put in money for targeted testing that makes sense, not just dumping money into a pot that already contains $10 billion dollars,” she added.

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and others stressed to reporters on Monday that more money for testing is essential in the next stimulus, breaking with the White House posture that more money for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for contact tracing and testing shouldn't be included in the next round of aid.

11:42 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Less than 16% of Florida's ICU beds are available

From CNN’s Randi Kaye

Ambulances line up outside of Broward Health Hospital on July 17 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Ambulances line up outside of Broward Health Hospital on July 17 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. MediaPunch/IPX

The ICU bed availability statewide in Florida now stands at 15.98%. These are “available adult ICU beds,” per the Agency for Healthcare Administration. 

This is a decrease in available beds. On Monday, the available ICU bed count was 18.1%.

There are 54 hospitals in 27 different counties that are now at 0% capacity — meaning they have no ICU beds left.

11:23 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020

McConnell says he wants GOP stimulus proposal to include $105 billion to help reopen schools 

From CNN's Ali Zaslav, Ted Barrett, Manu Raju, Lauren Fox and Phill Mattingly

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks with reporters as he departs from the Senate floor in the Capitol in Washington, DC, on July 20.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks with reporters as he departs from the Senate floor in the Capitol in Washington, DC, on July 20. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that the Republican stimulus proposal will likely include $105 billion in funding to help reopen schools across the country.

“This majority is preparing legislation that will send $105 billion, so that educators have the resources they need to safely reopen,” McConnell said in a floor speech.

In comparison, Democratic leadership has proposed $430 billion as part of their next relief package to help schools reopen.

McConnel broadly outlined what will be in the GOP proposal of the next Covid-19 relief bill in a floor speech on Tuesday morning, which he said “are just some of the elements being discussed between Republicans and the administration” and will be released “very soon.”

He said it will likely include another round of direct payments to Americans and more targeted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding.

“We’ll also be proposing a targeted second round of the PPP with a special eye toward hard hit businesses,” McConnell said.

“Speaking of building on what worked in the CARES Act, we want another round of direct payments,” he continued.

The sticking points: Direct payments to Americans continues to be be a point of dispute as President Trump continues to push for it, while many Hill Republicans are hesitant.

“Direct payments to help American families keep driving our national comeback,” he said. “Helping to create more American jobs is an urgent moral priority, and these are just some of the policies we're discussing that will help that happen.”

The Kentucky Republican did not mention in his floor speech whether a payroll tax cut would be included in the bill, which has also been a point of contention between Trump and Congressional Republicans.

Trump has continued to tout the idea, while most Republicans have expressed they don’t support a payroll tax cut.

McConnell repeated his red line for liability protections in his floor remarks. He also mentioned there would be funding toward a vaccine, hospitals and testing. Healthcare is the “third major focus” of the bill, he reiterated.

“The federal government will continue to support hospitals, providers, and testing,” McConnell said.

11:10 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Florida reports more than 9,400 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Tina Burnside

The state of Florida reported 9,440 new cases of Covid-19 and 134 additional deaths on Tuesday, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health. 

This brings the state's total cases to at least 369,834 according to the state department of health. The statewide resident death toll is now 5,206.

Take a look at the numbers:

10:37 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Here's where the US stands on testing, according to CDC data

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

People wait in line at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing site in Dallas, Texas, on July 2.
People wait in line at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing site in Dallas, Texas, on July 2. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Americans are testing positive for coronavirus in record-breaking numbers across the US and the surge in cases is slowing down the time tests take.

Labs across the country are now facing what seems like an almost "infinite" demand, one expert says.

"We really do need to improve our turnaround times, primarily in areas and counties of outbreaks," Adm. Brett Giroir, a White House coronavirus task force member, said.

As the country approaches 4 million cases, Trump has repeatedly responded with the argument that the large number of US cases is evidence of the country's success with testing. But per CNN's fact check reporting, Trump's own officials and his Republican allies have acknowledged it's not true that a rising number of tests is the reason the number of cases has skyrocketed over the last month.

One telling piece of evidence that the spike is genuine: the percentage of people testing positive, a key measure of the true spread of the virus, has also spiked.

Giroir, who heads the US's testing efforts, said yesterday that there are probably fewer cases compared to April because of more testing, but “there is no question we are having a surge right now. We are approaching this with extreme seriousness.”

Giroir said yesterday that in June, states "really crushed" their testing goals of over 16 million tests, and now are routinely doing 750,000 to 800,000 tests per day.

Speaking in a hearing on Capitol Hill on July 2, Giroir told lawmakers that the US had performed more than 35 million Covid-19 tests and is now averaging "over 550,000 tests per day." With regards to the national stockpile, Giroir said he estimated the nation will have the capacity to perform 40 to 50 million tests per month by the fall. 

But even these current numbers are well below the number of tests experts said the US should be doing now. In early May, a team at the Harvard Global Health Institute said the US should be testing at least 900,000 people a day by May 15.

According to a different group of experts, whose work was also supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the US needed to deliver at least 5 million tests per day by early June to begin reopening. It said as many as 20 million tests per day would be needed to fully remobilize the economy, ideally by late July.

The "Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience," published by Harvard University's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, argues that without widespread testing, state and local officials will get caught in cycles of opening up and then clamping down again on commerce and free movement.

According to Covid-19 testing data from The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last updated on Monday:

  • More than 48 million Covid-19 tests have been reported in the US. The CDC dashboard notes that the agency includes both viral tests and antibody tests in its testing data.
  • More than 4.5 million of those tests have been positive.

Remember: Viral tests tell you if you currently have an infection with the virus that causes Covid-19. Antibody blood tests check for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus. Those numbers represent the number of tests performed, and a single person may have been tested more than once.

With reporting from CNN's Amanda Watts, Daniel DaleHolmes Lybrand

10:43 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020

All key Covid-19 numbers remain below thresholds in New York City, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A man stands on the deck of a Staten Island ferry in front of the Manhattan skyline in New York on July 13.
A man stands on the deck of a Staten Island ferry in front of the Manhattan skyline in New York on July 13. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

The daily Covid-19 indicators are all under desired thresholds, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

Here's where things stand:

  • The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 is at 52, under the 200 threshold. 
  • The daily number of people at Health and Hospitals ICU’s is at 297, under the 375 threshold. 
  • The percent of people who tested positive for Covid-19 is at 2% under the 15% threshold. 
“Well done, a credit to all new Yorkers who continue to stay focused on fighting our way through this crisis” the mayor said. 

Earlier he announced New York City reached a milestone in delivering $100 million free meals to New Yorkers in need. 

He also announced the city is investing $22 million to rebuild and restore New York City Housing Authority community centers.

10:14 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020

House Speaker wants a deal on the next recovery package done by the end of next week

From CNN's Manu Raju

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks to her office in the US Capitol on Monday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks to her office in the US Capitol on Monday. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated she wants a deal done quickly — by the end of next week — with the GOP on the next recovery package.

From a source on the caucus call this morning, Pelosi said: “Yesterday, I had a conversation with Secretary Mnuchin more about housekeeping and timetables and the rest.”

She talked about the 3:15 p.m. meeting they will have today with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

“We will begin our conversations today. It is my hope that we can resolve our differences and have a bill by the end of next week,” she said.

10:05 a.m. ET, July 21, 2020

President of Florida teachers union: "One life lost is one too many"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

The president of Florida’s largest teachers union, which is suing Gov. Ron DeSantis over the state's mandate to open schools, says that the state cannot be a “Petri dish” for the rest of the country.

“We have 23,000 children that have been tested positive for Covid-19 here in state of Florida with a 13.4% positivity rate. … We cannot be guided by politics nor the economy. We must keep kids alive, we must keep them healthy and we must keep them safe,” says Fedrick Ingram, a teacher in Miami-Dade County and president of the Florida Education Association.

Florida’s education commissioner issued an emergency order earlier this month, requiring all "brick-and-mortar schools" to open at least five days per week for all students.

“There's a risk that we don't know. … One life lost is one too many for a child who goes back to a multi-generational home,” Ingram said. 

“It's too early for us to find that out. And it's too early for Florida to be the Petri dish for America,” he added. “We cannot experiment with our public schools.” 

Ingram said there is an open invitation for DeSantis to sit down with the union and develop a comprehensive plan for schools.