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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7:01 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

UC Berkeley to begin fall semester online only

From CNN's Sarah Moon

UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley Shutterstock

The University of California, Berkeley will begin fall semester with “fully remote instruction,” the university announced in a statement to its faculty and staff on Tuesday.

Citing trend lines and the increase in coronavirus cases across California and Alameda County, the university said a “dramatic reversal in the public health situation” is unlikely before the semester begins on August 26.

“We continue our preparations to implement hybrid and/or flexible modes of instruction as soon as public health conditions allow,” UC Berkeley said. 

The fully remote option is open for all students, according to the statement. UC Berkeley plans to continue with remote education after Thanksgiving, even if some in-person instruction becomes available.

UC Berkeley is the first among 10 campuses across the state to announce its decision to begin the semester entirely online.

6:53 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Brazil reports more than 41,000 new coronavirus cases

From Rodrigo Pedroso, Fernanda Wenzel and Sugam Pokharel

A health professional takes a patient on a trolley at the Pedro Ernesto University Hospital (HUPE) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 15.
A health professional takes a patient on a trolley at the Pedro Ernesto University Hospital (HUPE) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 15. Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil reported 41,008 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the total to 2,159,654, the country's health ministry said.

The ministry also registered 1,367 new fatalities due to the virus, raising the total death toll to 81,487.

Earlier Tuesday, the Pan American Health Organization said Covid-19 "is showing no signs of slowing down" in the Americas.

"There have been a total of 7.7 million cases and more than 311,000 deaths reported in the region as of July 20," PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne said in Tuesday's briefing.

6:51 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he took another coronavirus test since testing positive

Jair Bolsonaro President of Brazil looks on in front of the official residence in Alvorada Palace on July 18 in Brasilia.
Jair Bolsonaro President of Brazil looks on in front of the official residence in Alvorada Palace on July 18 in Brasilia. Bruna Prado/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday said he took a second Covid-19 test since testing positive for the virus on July 7.

He made the statement to a crowd of supporters gathered in front of his presidential residence, video broadcast live on his Facebook page showed.

Wearing a mask and separated from supporters by a small water canal, Bolsonaro said he expects the result to come out soon.

“Tomorrow morning or late afternoon, God willing, it will be negative and I will return to normal. Then on Friday, I will travel to Piaui,” Bolsonaro said referring to a state in the northeast of the country, where he is expected to meet governors.

On July 15, Bolsonaro said he took another coronavirus test that again came out positive. 

This is the fourth consecutive day that the far-right president of Brazil left his residence in the afternoon for a walk outdoors to greet his fans.

During the interaction, a supporter asked if she could have breakfast with Bolsonaro on Wednesday but was reminded by the the his aides that she cannot get close, as the president may still be infected.

6:46 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fact check: Trump claims that governors have "everything they need"

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

President Trump claimed governors are receiving “everything they need” from the federal government and that “tremendous amounts” of critical medical supplies are available for states that need them.

“The governors are working very, very hard and we are supporting them 100%, everything they need they get, and we are taking good care,” Trump said. “We have tremendous supplies and a great supply chain. Whether it's ventilators or gowns or just about anything they need.” 

Facts First: Trump is overselling the federal pandemic response. Some governors have what they need, but others have said the Trump administration is falling short. And even though he says “tremendous supplies” are available, some hospitals and health care workers still don’t have enough protective gear, and experts say Trump’s slow decision-making is partially to blame.

The country is in better shape than a few months ago, but there are still reports of equipment shortages. Some frontline health care workers are still rationing their personal protective gear.

CNN previously reported the Trump administration has not fully utilized the Defense Production Act to spur manufacturing of critical supplies like masks, gowns and gloves. Some efforts are underway, but experts say it’s not enough and that the law was invoked far too late. Because of that, smaller physicians’ offices and assisted-living facilities are currently facing shortages.

Regarding the governors, Trump is exaggerating.

CNN reached out to governors’ offices across the country earlier this month, after Trump made a similar claim about governors having everything they needed. Democratic governors from Washington state, Colorado, Michigan and Illinois said they needed more supplies from the federal government. One Republican governor told CNN that Trump’s comment was accurate.

Trump is a repeat offender on this front. He also said in April that governors were satisfied with the supplies they received, even as governors from both parties said they faced shortages of medical equipment. 

6:35 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fact check: Trump makes misleading claim about banning travel from Europe and China

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam 

Touting the actions his administration took to address coronavirus, President Trump claimed, "We closed the border to China, we put on the ban.” He later added, “I closed the borders from Europe." 

Facts First: It’s misleading for Trump to say he closed the US border to travel from China and Europe because both policies contained multiple exemptions, including for US citizens and permanent residents; the Europe policy exempted entire countries. Only foreign nationals who had been in China, Europe's Schengen area, the UK or Ireland within the past 14 days were outright banned from entering the US. 

You can read more about Trump’s travel restrictions here.

6:29 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fact check: Trump claims that he inherited "empty cupboards." Here's what we know.

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

At Tuesday's briefing, President Trump tried to shift blame for his administration’s delayed response to the coronavirus pandemic on his predecessor, claiming once again that he inherited “very empty cupboards.”

Facts First: The Strategic National Stockpile was not empty before the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the stockpile contains enough smallpox vaccines for every American, among other medical resources. And while the stockpile of some critical supplies that could be used to combat coronavirus was drained and not replenished, Trump had three years in office to build those depleted stockpiles back up.

Trump has also previously claimed the US didn’t have any ventilators when he took office or when the coronavirus pandemic hit. However, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to CNN in late June that there had been about 19,000 ventilators in the national stockpile for “many years,” including 16,660 ventilators that were ready for immediate use in March 2020; the spokesperson confirmed that none of those 16,660 were purchased by the Trump administration.

Ultimately, Trump ignored the warnings of experts and failed to restock masks and prepare other supplies to fight a potential pandemic.

You can read a longer fact check on Trump’s claims about inheriting an empty cupboard of supplies here.

6:27 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Fact check: Trump repeats false claim his administration is responsible for passing Veterans Choice

From CNN's David Wright

At Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing, President Trump repeated his false claim that his administration passed the Veteran’s Choice Act, which provided the Department of Veterans Affairs more resources to improve access for veterans and allow them to seek care from non-VA providers. 

“We got Veteran’s Choice, nobody thought that would be possible that’s been many decades they’ve been trying to get veterans choice,” Trump said.

Facts First: The Veterans Choice bill was a bipartisan initiative led by Sens. Bernie Sanders and the late John McCain, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014. In 2018, Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which expanded and changed the program.

This is among the President’s most repeated false claims. Since CNN started counting on July 8, 2019, Trump has repeated that claim more than 60 times. 

5:48 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

United Airlines reports $1.6 billion loss as pandemic takes a toll

From CNN's Jackie Wattles

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/FILE
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/FILE

United Airlines lost $1.6 billion last quarter – a three-month outcome that was slightly better than analysts' dire expectations.

Still, the company's revenue was down nearly 90% compared with what it was bringing in a year ago. It's just the latest evidence that the air travel industry is facing a devastating financial outlook with no end in sight as Covid-19 cases spike in some areas of the United States.

United emphasized in a statement that it's been able to slow the rate at which it is burning through cash, even as many of its planes remain in storage and ticket sales have slumped. 

The airline is losing $40 million each day, United said Tuesday, down from $100 million in April.

"We expect United produced fewer losses and lower cash burn in the second quarter than any of our large network competitors," CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement. "We accomplished this by quickly and accurately forecasting the impact that COVID would have on passenger and cargo demand, accurately matching our schedule to that reduced demand, completing the largest debt financing deal in aviation history, and cutting expenses across our business."

United said it expects its daily cash burn to dip to $25 million during the next quarter. 

Moving forward: As new outbreaks across the US continue to delay the resurgence in air travel that carriers hoped to see, United is warning that tens of thousands of its workers could be furloughed in October. That's when the ban on involuntary job cuts, tied to bailout money airlines received months ago, expires. 

Federal lawmakers are considering another stimulus package, but they remain divided over how it should be structured.

5:42 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Covid-19 outbreak reported at Walmart Distribution Center in Oregon

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

A Covid-19 outbreak of 23 cases has been reported at the Walmart Distribution Center in Umatilla County, Oregon, according to a news release from the state's Health Authority.

Included in the outbreak case count are household members and other close contacts of an employee, the release said.

The investigation of the outbreak started on June 30, but was below the threshold needed for public disclosure.

State and county public health officials are working together “to address the outbreak and protect the health of workers,” the release said. 

Walmart started requiring all shoppers to wear a face covering on Monday.