Florida reports more than 9,700 additional Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Tina Burnside
The state of Florida is reporting 9,785 new cases of Covid-19 and 139 additional deaths on Wednesday, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health.
This brings the state's total cases to 379,619 according to the state department of health. The statewide resident death toll is now 5,345.
11:27 a.m. ET, July 22, 2020
More than 100,000 people have signed up for Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials, Fauci says
From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo
More than 100,000 people have signed up to participate in Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Wednesday.
Speaking with the TB Alliance, Fauci said people have signed up through the Coronavirus Prevention Network (CoVPN) and a public database.
"We have well over 100,000 people that have already signed up as volunteers," Fauci said. "I think we'll be fine with regards to getting enough people. In the first trial is going to be 30,000 people in the trial, and there are gonna be more than one trial, so you're talking about tens and tens of thousands of people that will be needed for these multiple vaccine trials."
10:58 a.m. ET, July 22, 2020
Citing safety, Lowe's will not require employees to enforce customer mask mandate
From CNN’s Alison Kosik
Lowe’s Home Improvement says it will not require its employees to enforce a customer mask mandate at its stores across the country.
In a statement to CNN, Lowe’s spokesperson Steve Salazar said, “we will not ask our associates to put their safety at risk by confronting customers about wearing masks, so we are consistently requesting that customers wear masks for the safety of everyone in our stores.”
The home improvement chain says it’s added signs at its stores, requesting that customers wear masks for the safety of everyone. They’re also providing free masks to customers who need them.
Some background: Without a federal mask mandate, companies have had to step in and make their own rules.
CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Home Depot are among many companies not asking employees to enforce their mask wearing policies.
CNN Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this report
11:25 a.m. ET, July 22, 2020
"We are going as quickly as we possibly can" on vaccine development, Fauci says
From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas
“We are going as quickly as we possibly can” on vaccine development, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a webinar with the TB Alliance on Wednesday.
“If you want to do it correctly, with safety, and real attention to safety and efficacy, I think we are going as fast as we possibly can,” Fauci said.
He said that the speed of the result of vaccine trials will always be determined by the level of infectious activity that is present.
“In other words, if you can get that vaccine trial going in the middle of a lot of viral activity, such as we are experiencing now in the United States, with 50 to 60 to 70 thousand new infections per day, that’s bad news for public health, but that certainly facilitates the development and the proving of the efficacy of a vaccine,” he said.
“So I think, Betsy, we are going as quickly as we possibly can now,” without jumping over important steps Fauci said.
Click here to catch up on the latest on the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.
11:55 a.m. ET, July 22, 2020
White House adviser says some states reopened "a little too quickly"
From CNN's Betsy Klein
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway attempted to shift blame for surging coronavirus cases to the nation’s governors, claiming that Trump’s somber message and shift in tone was “not a change,” but instead, a reaction to some states that reopened too quickly.
“It’s not a change. The briefings stopped, but his work hasn’t stopped,” Conway said in response to a question from CNN.
Remember: Trump warned the coronavirus pandemic is likely to worsen before improving, during the first outing of his revived daily briefings on Tuesday. His tone was relatively sober and offered more realistic projections.
“I think what he added yesterday is him seeing that some of these states moved through our gated criteria, moved through some of our phases, and they opened up some of the industries a little too quickly like bars,” Conway said today of Trump's briefing.
Governors, she said, “wanted complete latitude” over reopening, but, Trump “also sees that if he provides information to the public as the President, he's also giving people guidance as to how to do our part to help flatten that curve and to help some of these cities.”
She pointed to Georgia as an example of where the President pushed back on reopening phases.
Amid criticism of the President’s Tuesday remarks that the administration is “developing a strategy,” she said, “We do have a strategy,” but suggested that Trump was talking specifically about vaccine development and therapeutics and sheltering vulnerable populations.
Conway said Trump was briefed on the testing matter by Dr. Deborah Birx and Jared Kushner and his team, but acknowledged, “We all think it’s gotta be better,” pointing to many Americans waiting days for results.
She was also asked about the lack of public health officials at yesterday’s briefing and noted that they are frequently on television or on Facebook or, in a nod to Dr. Anthony Fauci, “throwing pitches.”
Trump and Fauci, she said, “don’t have a piece of tissue paper between him,” before pivoting to criticize Joe Biden.
11:09 a.m. ET, July 22, 2020
"I don't really see us eradicating" Covid-19, Fauci says
From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday the world may not eradicate Covid-19 – but we may be able to control it with a vaccine and good public health measures.
Speaking during a webcast hosted by the TB Alliance, Fauci explained that due to Covid-19's ability to transmit from human to human, he doesn't think it will disappear like SARS did.
"I think we ultimately will get control of it. I don't really see us eradicating it. I think with a combination of good public health measures, a degree of global herd immunity and a good vaccine — which I do hope and feel cautiously optimistic that we will get. I think when you put all three of those together, I think we will get very good control of this," Fauci said.
"Whether it's this year or next year, I'm not certain ... but I think we will bring it down to such a low level that we will not be in the position that we're in right now for an extended period of time," Fauci added.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization also said it is unlikely that the world can eradicate or eliminate Covid-19 any time soon.
10:35 a.m. ET, July 22, 2020
ICU beds in Florida's Broward County are at 90% capacity, mayor says
From CNN's Tina Burnside
Broward County, Florida, Mayor Dale Holness said during a news conference today that ICU beds in the county are 90% filled.
Holness said based on this data the county is taking extra enforcement measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Additional measures include a countywide curfew, mask enforcement, and the closure of businesses who are not in compliance with county mandates, Holness said.
Broward County has recorded at least 42,121 cases of Covid-19 with 2,839 hospitalizations according to the Florida Department of Health.
10:14 a.m. ET, July 22, 2020
FEMA chief says agency has "a ways to go" on PPE, but current supply is "healthy"
From CNN's Nicky Robertson
FEMA administrator Peter Gaynor told a House Homeland Security Committee that personal protective equipment distribution in the US is “healthy” and that states have between 60 and 90 days of PPE stockpiled, but that the agency has “a ways to go” before it is sure there is enough.
“I’ve talked to every single state director, emergency manager director in the country and got a feel for what they have in stock in the states, its actually pretty positive, 60, 90, 120 days states have stockpiled today,” Gaynor said.
"Commercial medical grade PPE distribution is very healthy today," he added. But he told the committee that there may be “micro shortages” across the country.
“Those frontline workers that have a shortage should work with their local emergency management director, their local public health director," he said.
Gaynor noted that the US is “in competition still for PPE around the globe,” and that “We have a ways to go on making sure we have enough PPE. This is not as simple as throwing a light switch and we magically make more. We still have many months to go before we start making enough” to meet the demand.
10:00 a.m. ET, July 22, 2020
47% of Covid-19 deaths in Florida linked to long-term care facilities
From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Denise Royal
In Florida, 47% of all Covid-19 deaths are linked to long-term care facilities, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health.
This comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the deployment of incident management teams to all long-term care facilities across the state.
To date, at least 2,445 out of the 5,206 total reported deaths in Florida are associated to long-term care facilities.