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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4:35 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Louisiana will stay in phase 2 of reopening for another two weeks due to Covid-19 resurgence

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Louisiana’s governor said the resurgence of coronavirus in his state is causing them to put their reopening plans on hold.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday that the state will remain in its phase two plan for another two weeks as Covid-19 numbers increase.

“It is widespread all across our state," the governor said.

Edwards first extended the phase two plan nearly a month ago, and it was set to expire on Friday prior to his extension.

The governor added a new mask mandate early last week, and he said that rule also will be in place for an additional two weeks. 

Louisiana had another surge of Covid-19 in early May, but the governor warned that the disease is in more parts of the state now.

“This resurgence doesn't look like it did,” Edwards said, “when it was concentrated.”

The state Department of Health warns that hospitalizations also are growing at an alarming rate. “We've now clearly turned a corner in the wrong direction," said Dr. Alexander Billioux, assistant secretary.

4:37 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

We need to try to get children back in school, Fauci says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

The US needs to try to get children back in school, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday.

“This is obviously a very important problem, you know, in general,” Fauci said.

Fauci said he has not specifically talked to President Trump or Education Secretary Betsy DeVos about reopening schools, but he said it has come up at the coronavirus task force meetings. 

“In general, when I think about that, I want to take a 40,000-foot look and say, as a fundamental principle, I do agree that we should try as best as I possibly can to get the children back to school because of the well-documented, you know, secondary downstream ripple effects that are negative on parents and on the children when you keep them out of school,” Fauci said.

4:30 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

US stocks finish mixed

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks closed mixed on Tuesday, as investors await more company earnings in addition to news about the economic recovery and efforts to find a Covid-19 vaccine.

Here's how the market closed: 

  • The Dow finished 0.6%, or 160 points, higher
  • The S&P 500 ended up 0.2%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite, which closed at an all-time high on Monday, fell 0.8%.

4:35 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fauci: People should get a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as one becomes available

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says once a coronavirus vaccine is available and approved, people should not wait to see if another option is more effective.

"A vaccine will not be approved by the FDA unless it clearly shows that it's safe and it's effective," Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper. "I would not wait to see if one is better than another. Because the very fact that it gets approved by the FDA means that it's good enough to protect you."

"The relative percentage of how good it's going to be – you may get one vaccine that's a bit better than the other – but I would say that some protection by a vaccine is certainly better than no protection," he added.

Fauci said he hopes more than one vaccine gets approved because "we need a lot of vaccine, not only for people in the United States but for the rest of the world."

"When the first one comes out, if it's available, I would encourage people to get vaccinated," Fauci added.


4:22 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fauci says he is a "realist," not an "alarmist"

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Tuesday said he is more of a realist than an "alarmist" when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

President Trump on Sunday called Fauci "a little bit of an alarmist" in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

"People have their opinion about my reaction to things," Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead." "I consider myself more a realist than an alarmist, but people do have their opinions." 

4:28 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fauci says "it's extremely important" that Trump is protected from coronavirus

The nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said "it's extremely important" that President Trump "stays protected."

Fauci was asked by CNN's Jake Tapper how often the President should be tested for coronavirus. He responded: "Well, it depends on the circumstances and to whom the person was exposed."

Fauci added: "When I go to the White House — you don't really go in particularly if you're going to see the vice president or the President without getting tested. So I went down there yesterday for a certain period of time, and I got tested. So, I mean, you get tested in order to make sure that you protect the President for the obvious reasons, he is the President of the United States. It's extremely important that he stays protected." 

More context: Earlier today, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump sometimes is tested for coronavirus multiple times each day.


4:22 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Covid-19 vaccine developers say the speed of work will not sacrifice safety

From CNN’s Jacqueline Howard

Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals research and development for AstraZeneca
Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals research and development for AstraZeneca House and Commerce Committee

When asked whether the speed at which they are moving to develop a Covid-19 vaccine could influence safety, representatives from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies insisted during a congressional hearing on Tuesday that was not the case.

"In short, I do believe we can do this – in terms of delivering both a safe and efficacious vaccine," Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals research and development for AstraZeneca, said during the hearing.

"I don't think any of the regulatory bodies that we've interacted with are lowering their standards, and by the end of our pivotal studies we will have dosed nearly 50,000 people. So that will be I think a very significant number and comparable to any of the vaccines that have been approved in recent times," Pangalos said.

"We do also believe it's possible to deliver a safe and effective vaccine," Dr. Macaya Douoguih, head of clinical development and medical affairs for Janssen Vaccines at Johnson & Johnson, told lawmakers during the hearing of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

"We have experience with accelerated programs as we've developed the Ebola vaccine – a lot needs to be done in parallel, but it can be done safely without compromising any of the standards that we usually undertake for any clinical trial," Douoguih said.

"There may be a need to perform post-marketing surveillance and we're working on a plan there to make sure that we continue to monitor safety not only before licensure but after for the duration that's deemed appropriate by the regulators," Douoguih added

4:14 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fauci says he hasn't talked to Trump about the pandemic since last week

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

With a White House briefing just moments away, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN's Jake Tapper on Tuesday that he hasn't briefed President Trump on the pandemic today.

Asked the last time he spoke with Trump, Fauci said, "I had a long conversation with him toward the end of last week."


4:33 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fauci: "I'm assuming" I won't be at today's White House briefing


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said he is "assuming" he will not appear at President Trump's briefing, since it's due to start in less than an hour, and he's still at his office.

"I was not invited up to this point," he told CNN's Jake Tapper moments ago. "I'm assuming I'm not going to be there."

The White House briefing is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET.

Trump announced yesterday he would soon resume regular public briefings after discontinuing them in April.

But no White House coronavirus task force members are currently expected to join him at today's press briefing, a person familiar with the plan tells CNN, who cautioned that could change.