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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2:32 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

There have now been more than 400,000 coronavirus cases in California

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A physician assistant carries a nasal swab sample using a grabber at a drive-through testing site set up at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, on Thursday, July 16.
A physician assistant carries a nasal swab sample using a grabber at a drive-through testing site set up at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, on Thursday, July 16. Jae C. Hong/AP

California is now reporting 400,769 total coronavirus cases. California reported at least 9,231 new coronavirus cases today, bringing the total to approximately 400,769 total cases statewide, according to new data provided by the California Department of Public Health.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of at least 7,755 people have died as a result of the virus in California. 

Hospitalization rates and those in the intensive care unit are again reaching highs with increases of 1.9% and 0.7% respectively.

California’s positivity rate over the past two weeks stands at 7.5%, which is slightly under the state’s goal of remaining below 8%. More than 6.5 million tests have been performed to date.

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

2:27 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Men's Wearhouse owner plans to close 500 stores and lay off 20% of corporate staff

Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images/FILE
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images/FILE

Tailored Brands, the owner of menswear chains including Men's Wearhouse and JoS A. Bank, announced Tuesday it will shutter stores and reduce staff as its business suffers due to the pandemic.

The company detailed plans in a statement to eliminate about 20% of its corporate workforce and close up to 500 stores as it deals with a "challenging retail environment." 

“Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its significant impact on our business, further actions are needed to help us strengthen our financial position so we can navigate our current realities," said Tailored Brands President and CEO Dinesh Lathi. "While today’s announcement is a difficult one, we are confident these are the right next steps to protect our business and position us to more effectively compete in today’s environment.”

Tailored Brands had 1,450 stores as of February 1, according to a public filing. It did not reveal which locations could be closed. 

Last week, Tailored Brands disclosed to investors it was at risk of bankruptcy or even shutting down operations because of the Covid-19 crisis.

2:25 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Austria to reintroduce mandatory face masks in supermarkets as cases rise

From CNN’s Josefine Ohema and Sarah Dean in London

Austria will once again make it mandatory for people to wear face masks in supermarkets, banks and post offices, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced at a news conference on Tuesday.

"In the past weeks, we recorded an increase of new corona infections," Kurz tweeted after the briefing. He explained everyone should wear a mask "in order to protect vulnerable people."

During the briefing, Kurz emphasized how face masks can influence behavior, saying "the more they disappear from our everyday life, the more careless people become."

Since June 15, masks have not been mandatory in Austria apart from on public transport, in hospitals, pharmacies and hair salons. The measure making it mandatory for mask to be worn in supermarkets, banks and post offices will go into effect on July 24.

According to Austria’s Health Ministry coronavirus dashboard, 88 new Covid-19 cases were reported on July 20. On the same day in June, just 20 new cases were reported.

The country’s total Covid-19 death toll stands at 710, with a total of 19,827 recorded cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Austria — seen as a success story in Europe — went into lockdown in mid-March and lifted many of its measures at the end of April. Kurz said on April 19 that the coronavirus outbreak in Austria was "under control." He credited the positive development as a result of the government's early implementation of strict containment measures.

"We were one of the first countries in Europe which decided to have a complete lockdown, and I think it was extremely important that we were faster than others and our reaction was tougher than in other countries," Kurz told CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

"It was good that we did it because now the situation in Austria is under control. We only have about 100 new infections every day," he added.

Austria also removed its coronavirus border controls on June 16, with some exemptions.

2:24 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

GOP Senate leader wants to stay under $1 trillion for stimulus package, senator says

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

During a closed-door lunch today, lawmakers had a robust discussion about the next stimulus bill with many Republicans raising concerns about the debt and deficit, Sen. Kevin Cramer said.

Specifically, some Republicans pushed back on including direct stimulus checks in the next bill without making them more targeted. 

According to Cramer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also made it clear it’s still his goal to keep this GOP proposal under $1 trillion. 

“Everyone has their own idea,” Cramer warned, however, about the discussion in the room. 

Cramer also said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was asked about if the administration would agree to additional spending on testing. Mnuchin answered that the administration was committed to testing. 

2:13 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

More than 141,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Haley Brink

A National Guard troop directs cars as people are tested by healthcare workers at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sunday, July 19.
A National Guard troop directs cars as people are tested by healthcare workers at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sunday, July 19. David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

There are at least 3,858,686 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 141,426 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases. 

On Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. ET, Johns Hopkins has reported 28,676 new cases and 520 reported deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

2:16 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

If 90% of people did these 3 things, there would be no large outbreak of Covid-19, study finds

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

People wearing face masks wash their hands with hand sanitizer at an entrance of a shopping mall on July 11, in Tokyo.
People wearing face masks wash their hands with hand sanitizer at an entrance of a shopping mall on July 11, in Tokyo. Lyu Shaowei/China News Service/Getty Images

Three simple behaviors could stop most all of the Covid-19 pandemic, even without a vaccine or additional treatments, according to a new study. Those behaviors are:

  • Washing hands regularly
  • Wearing masks
  • Keeping physical distance from others

The study, published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Medicine, created a new model to look at the spread of the disease and prevention efforts that could help stop it.

The contact rates in the study were based on people's interaction in the Netherlands, but the model is appropriate for other Western countries, the team at the University Medical Center Utrecht said.

"A large epidemic can be prevented if the efficacy of these measures exceeds 50%," they wrote.

If, however, the public is slow, but does eventually change behavior, it can reduce the number of cases — but not delay a peak in cases, according to the model. 

If governments shut down early, but no one takes additional personal protective steps, this will delay, but not reduce a peak in cases. A three-month intervention, would delay the peak by, at most seven months, the study found.

But if there's government-imposed social distancing combined with disease awareness and personal steps, the height of the peak can be reduced, even after government imposed social distancing orders are lifted.

"Moreover, the effect of combinations of self-imposed measures is additive," the researchers wrote. "In practical terms, it means that SARS-CoV-2 will not cause a large outbreak in a country where 90% of the population adopts handwashing and social distancing that are 25% efficacious."

The reason it isn't 100% is because even with self-imposed social distancing, contacts with others might not be totally eliminated. For instance, people who live together will interact, increasing the likelihood that someone could get sick.

The researchers argue that governments should educate the public about how the disease spreads and raise awareness about the crucial nature of self-distancing, hand washing and also mask use to control an ongoing epidemic. It does not differentiate between mandating some of these behaviors or encouraging them.

Remember: There are limits to the model. It doesn't take into effect demographics, nor does it account for the imperfect isolation of people who are sick with Covid-19, meaning they can infect others who care for them in a health care setting or at home. It also doesn't account for the possibility of reinfection. 

2:03 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Possible coronavirus vaccine unlikely to be made widely available before 2021, UK vaccine head says

From Becky Anderson, Anna Gorzkowska and Mohammed Al-Saiegh

Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce
Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce CNN

A possible coronavirus vaccine may not become widely available before 2021, the head of the UK Vaccine Taskforce told CNN Tuesday, cautioning that it remains uncertain as to whether a vaccine could be developed before Christmas.  

“I would not assume there are any vaccines before next year. There will be some vaccines, if everything goes right, potentially at the end of this year, but that is not something I’d be going to the bank on in terms of everyone can get vaccinated by Christmas,” said Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce. 

I don’t think [access] to all of us is something that is going to happen for a long time because we need to make sure the priority populations are vaccinated first, and that will take some time,” she added. 

Bingham’s remarks come just a day after the University of Oxford announced that the early results of its phase one and two trials suggest a newly developed coronavirus vaccine is safe and induces an immune response.  

Meanwhile, working in conjunction with the University of Oxford, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca told a US congressional hearing on Tuesday that it is on track to have a possible vaccine ready as early as September. 

Speaking to CNN, Bingham said such projections remain “no more than possibility” at present.

1:53 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Covid-19 is "exacerbating and exploiting" pre-existing health conditions, US surgeon general says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams Win McNamee/Getty Image/FILE

Covid-19 is “exacerbating and exploiting” pre-existing health disparities, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said at a virtual launch event for Shatterproof’s ATLAS resource.

ATLAS is a resource aimed at helping people find addiction treatment, which launched in six states on Tuesday.

Speaking about stigma at the event, Adams said that in his own experience, stigma is particularly apparent in rural communities and in communities of color. “And it’s not a coincidence that these are the same communities that are being hardest hit, in many cases, by substance misuse. And it’s not a coincidence that these same communities have also been particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

There are a number of known reasons for this, Adams said, which are “rooted both in pre-existing medical, as well as social conditions, that conspire to reduce resilience, opportunity and health.”

“Covid-19 is exploiting and exacerbating these pre-existing health disparities, including substance use disorders.”

Adams said that addressing Covid-19 should remain a top priority, but that other health issues cannot and must not be forgotten. They exacerbate the virus, will be exacerbated by the virus, and they will be present long after the pandemic ends.

Adams finished his address by talking about the public health practices that he called the best immediate defense against Covid-19, shutdowns, and worsening of other diseases and conditions, such as substance abuse.

He highlighted hand hygiene, social distancing, staying home when sick and wearing face masks. “I ask that you please help me reinforce this advice to others,” he said.

“These things,” Adams said, showing a mask, “really are an instrument of freedom.”

Doing these things will help to keep more places opens, including addiction treatment and recovery centers, he said.

“We need to make sure we’re doing everything possible to get people the help that they need,” Adams said. “And part of that is wearing a face covering.” 

 

1:51 p.m. ET, July 21, 2020

Many more people have had Covid-19 than what's showing up in official numbers, new CDC data reveals

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images
Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images

The number of people who have had Covid-19 was much greater than the official case count, according to data and a new analysis released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the country is far from a level that would give the population herd immunity.

Depending on the region, the number of people infected was sometimes six to 24 times the number of reported cases, the CDC team said.

“For most sites, it is likely that greater than 10 times more SARS-CoV-2 infections occurred than the number of reported COVID-19 cases,” the team concluded.

These numbers are likely conservative, according to the study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The data used in the analysis was published on the CDC website Tuesday. 

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said earlier this month that testing had likely missed 90% or so of cases.

The CDC wanted to see if the official test tally showed the actual numbers of infections. They analyzed test results from 16,000 people in 10 geographically diverse cities and states done between March and early May. These people were tested, not because they had coronavirus symptoms but for other reasons – for instance, if they were having surgery and the hospital did the test as a matter of course.

These tests would give a broader sense of who has been infected by the novel coronavirus than just the number of people who have sought tests because they didn’t feel well and suspected they had Covid-19. 

There is a limit to this methodology. These people tested may not have been representative of the general population, nor does it take into account the disease exposure risk. It’s also possible that there could be some overlap, and people may have been tested more than once, the CDC said. The infections may not be evenly distributed even in these regions.

The results do show that the majority of people in these 10 sites have not had Covid-19. It also shows that people who are asymptomatic are still contributing to the spread of the disease, so the authors argue that the public should continue to take steps to prevent the spread by wearing masks, staying physically distant and staying home as much as possible.