July 23 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Brad Lendon, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:09 a.m. ET, July 24, 2020
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12:57 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Countries with low levels of Covid-19 will still experience outbreaks, WHO says

From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo

Countries coming out of lockdowns and countries with low levels of Covid-19 will still experience potential clusters and outbreaks of the disease, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, said on Thursday. 

Ryan explained during a news conference that even in countries that have brought down the virus "under extreme control," such as Germany and Spain, "there's always a chance that the disease can be imported or the disease can spread from unseen clusters." 

Ryan said that rather than implementing widespread lockdowns, governments should be "more precise" in how they contain an outbreak.

"Instead of restricting everyone, we try and go after the virus. And we try and identify where the virus is, and then specifically and surgically, in the sense, excise the virus from the community by minimizing the impact on the lives and livelihoods of the community," Ryan said. 

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for coronavirus response and head of its emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, said that if outbreaks "are dealt with swiftly" through testing and contact tracing, "you have an opportunity to really put that fire out quickly." 

12:52 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

There is still "intense transmission" of Covid-19 in a relatively small group of countries, WHO says

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Coronavirus is spreading fast in some countries, the World Health Organization said Thursday. 

“We continue to see intense transmission in a relatively small group of countries,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a briefing in Geneva. 

Tedros said 15 million cases of Covid-19 and 620,000 deaths have now been reported to WHO.

“Almost 10 million cases, or two thirds of all cases globally, are from 10 countries,” he said. “And almost half of all cases reported so far are from just three countries.”

The US, Brazil and India have the highest numbers of new cases currently.

“Even in those three countries that have the highest numbers of cases right now (it) can be turned around,” WHO’s Maria van Kerkhove said later.

Tedros reiterated that political leadership and community engagement are the “two vital pillars of the response.”

Here's a look at the countries with the highest number of confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data:

12:45 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Administration nearing release of additional guidance on return to US schools

From CNN's Kristen Holmes and Nick Valencia

Supplemental guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on safely reopening schools during the pandemic could be released as early as tonight, two federal officials told CNN.

A senior administration official said that five supplemental guidance documents have now been completed and described their release as "imminent."

Some background: Earlier this week, CNN reported that the supplemental guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been cleared though the federal review process by the Office of Management and Budget.

The White House initially said this guidance would come out last week, but a CDC spokesman confirmed late Friday that it would be delayed because the documents weren't ready.

President Trump had criticized current CDC reopening guidance as "too tough."

A federal health official also confirmed the timetable to CNN, and, reacting to previous delays in this process, the source said: “I will believe it when I see it.”

 Many school districts in the U.S. are set to resume classes in some form as soon as two weeks from now.

12:34 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

CDC’s ensemble forecast now projects more than 164,000 US coronavirus deaths by August 15

From CNN Health’s Ben Tinker

An ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects more than 164,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by August 15.

The new projections, published Thursday, forecast 164,477 deaths by August 15, with a possible range of 158,490 to 173,431 deaths.

 “National and state-level ensemble forecasts suggest that the number of new deaths over the next 4 weeks will likely exceed the number reported over the last 4 weeks for the US overall, as well as in 25 states and 1 territory,” the CDC says on its forecasting website.

The jurisdictions with the greatest likelihood of a larger number of deaths include:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah

More on the projection: Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections about a month into the future.

The previous ensemble forecast, published July 15, projected roughly 157,000 coronavirus deaths by August 8.

At least 143,446 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

1:03 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

New York state monitoring rising coronavirus rates among younger people

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

e York state is monitoring rising coronavirus rates among younger people, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news conference Thursday.

A graphic presented during the press conference showed a 13.2% test positivity rate for individuals between the ages of 21 to 30, compared to 9.9% a week earlier, he said, calling the statistic “a significant increase in a short period of time."

"It's not hard to understand what is going on ... you get groups of young people - it's warm, they've been locked up for a long time and would like to socialize — I get it. You don't socially distance, you don't wear masks, the virus spreads, and it is happening," the governor said.

"This is not the time to fight for your right to party ... There's an attitude that young people are immune — you are not. 21 to 30, the virus can kill you. And if it doesn't kill you, you can bring it home and give it to someone inadvertently and it can kill them," Cuomo added.

Cuomo also announced a new ad campaign aimed at young people:


12:30 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Arizona's coronavirus deaths surpass 3,000

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

Arizona has now lost over 3,000 people to Covid-19, according to data reported by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) on Thursday.  

ADHS reported at least 89 new Covid-19 related deaths Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths to 3,083. 

The state has a total of at least 152, 944 total cases, according to the state's dashboard.  

Arizona is currently seeing a 42.61 death rate per 100,000 people and a 12.5% positivity rate.  

12:34 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Florida's Broward County only has 9.8% hospital ICU beds available

From CNN's Randi Kaye and Melissa Alonso

A health worker greets people at Memorial Hospital Miramar on July 18 in Miramar, Florida.
A health worker greets people at Memorial Hospital Miramar on July 18 in Miramar, Florida. Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Florida's Broward County has 1,309 people hospitalized with Covid-19 currently, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

Just 9.8% of their beds are still available in intensive care units, with 52 beds, Broward County health officials reported Thursday.

Broward is the second hardest hit county in South Florida, behind Miami-Dade, with 45,010 total Covid-19 cases reported, according to the state's Department of Health. 

Last week, Broward instituted an overnight curfew from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. local time in an effort to control the surge there.

The county also has a mask mandate with fines of up to $500, CNN has reported.

12:31 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

White House conceded to Senate GOP demands in key areas of recovery package, senators say

From CNN's Manu Raju

US Senator Roy Blunt speaks during a US Senate hearing in Washington, DC, on July 2.
US Senator Roy Blunt speaks during a US Senate hearing in Washington, DC, on July 2. Saul Loeb/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Republican senators say the White House conceded to Senate Republican demands during the negotiations — namely on money for contact tracing and testing, making funds available for schools that stay closed and dropping President Trump's demand for a payroll tax cut.

On school funding: After Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos warned that aid to schools would be withheld without them fully reopening, the Senate GOP pushed back and charted a different course.

According to Sen. Roy Blunt, a key negotiator in the GOP-White House deal, he said about half of the $70 billion for K-12 schools in the plan would be given regardless if they are open or not. The other half would "go out on the basis that you have more expenses if you’re back to school than you do if you’re not."

Blunt added: "But none of the college money and only half of the elementary and secondary money would be conditional on returning to school. And that doesn’t mean returning to five-days-a-week school."

On the payroll tax cut: The White House has acknowledged that it dropped the payroll tax cut, something that Republican senators indicated would do little to stimulate the economy.

On tracing and testing: And the White House agreed to ramp up testing to $25 billion after suggesting that there was already plenty of unspent money to use for testing and contact tracing. The GOP deal would provide $16 billion in new money, with an additional $9 billion redirected from the March stimulus law to spend on testing and tracing.

"We did get the $25 billion we wanted, but part of it was being sure they were gonna spend $9 billion that was not specifically allocated to testing on testing," Blunt said.

How this unfolded: Several Republicans pointed out that the White House had to move quickly in the GOP direction in order to get a deal together.

Sen. Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican up for reelection, contended he was not concerned that it took all week to get their party's proposal together, but noted the White House "moved in our direction."

"We had to resolve some of the conflicts with the administration," Tillis said. "They've moved in our direction, it's a normal part of the sausage factory."

Sen. Lamar Alexander, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said a key issue that the White House and Senate GOP agreed to was how to defer student loan payments. He said the two agreed to continue deferring student loan payments after October "if you don't have any income but once you start making the income, you'll never have to pay more than 10 percent of it on your student loan after you deduct, rent, mortgage and food."

Asked about Trump's claim that testing is "overrated," Alexander pushed back.

"I can give you my opinion on testing which is that testing is essential," Alexander said. "And I think probably the most important activity we have going on in the government right now in terms of identifying the disease, containing it, and creating confidence to go back to school and that work is the work Dr. [Francis] Collins is doing in the National Institutes of Health to create new ways to get a quick test so you can get a result within an hour."

Alexander added: "You can do that, then you can test whole classes, you can test teachers, you can test employees, there’ll be an oversupply of quick tests and I think all the discussions about testing with disappear."

CNN's Rebecca Grandahl contributed to this report

12:26 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Spike in Covid-19 cases may weaken the pace of economic recovery, analysts say

From CNN’s Alison Kosik

A man jogs past tourist shops on June 30 in Hollywood, California.
A man jogs past tourist shops on June 30 in Hollywood, California. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Analysts at Moody’s Investors Service said a surge in the number of coronavirus cases and the expiration of federal relief measures will “imperil economic recovery.”

Though Moody’s expects “the recovery to continue over the second half of this year and unemployment to gradually decline, the worsening situation is putting the ongoing US consumption recovery at risk.” 

The group’s analysis found that metro areas including Los Angeles, Miami and Dallas, where cases have spiked, together account for 26.8% of GDP. Despite retail sales having a strong “monthly pickup“ in May and June, the group said “the improving trend may not carry through July and the coming months.” 

Moody’s said even without stringent lockdowns, fear of infection will likely cause consumers to voluntarily cut back on economic activities that require a high degree of person-to-person contact. The analysts also said a reduction in federal support from current levels would constitute a financial shock for many households and businesses.