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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10:35 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Subway ridership is up 75% in New York City, mayor says

People ride the subway in New York on July 16.
People ride the subway in New York on July 16. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Both public transit ridership and traffic is up in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday at the city’s daily Covid-19 presser. 

The city saw a major drop in public transportation ridership during the height of the Covid-19 crisis, but it's increasing now as the city continues to reopen.

  • Subway ridership is up 75%
  • Bus ridership up 57% 
  • Staten Island ferry ridership up 70%
  • Traffic into Manhattan is up 17% 
10:23 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

North Carolina National Guard will wind down Covid-19 efforts this week

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher and Melissa Alonso

The North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) will wind down its Covid-19 relief operations this Friday, according to a NCNG release.  

The NCNG has been on duty "for 135 days supporting North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina Department of Public Safety, North Carolina Emergency Management, and local partners across the state," the release said.

There are currently 286 members on Covid-19 duty, according to the release. The NCNG will remain on standby with "about 250 Guardsmen ready to reengage COVID-19 relief efforts if requested by the state," the release said.  

"We thank the men and women of the National Guard, and we thank their families and their employers for sharing them with us during this pandemic,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “The National Guard team has provided vital services to our state and we salute them for a mission well done," Sprayberry said" 

There were 940 soldiers and airmen activated across North Carolina supporting relief efforts during the height of its Covid-19 response, the release said. 

10:14 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

What's in the GOP stimulus plan, according to people briefed on it

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, after days of intraparty disputes and splits spilling into public view, will move Thursday to unify Republicans behind their initial $1 trillion coronavirus relief proposal.

Senate Republicans and the White House had been negotiating the plan. Over the course of day today, the proposal will be rolled out in pieces by the key Senate Republicans on each section.

But according people briefed on it, here's the rundown of what's in the proposal:

  • Second round of direct payments and some form of an extension, at a reduced rate, to the federal enhanced unemployment benefit
  • Second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, targeted toward the hardest hit small businesses based on lost revenue and expanded to include more flexibility to forgive money used for operational and supplier costs
  • $105 billion in education funds, split as $70 billion for K-12, $30 billion for colleges/universities, $5 billion for governors to utilize
  • $16 billion in new funds for state testing grants, plus an administration commitment to designate $9 billion in unused funds from the CARES Act (making the total $25 billion)
  • $26 billion for vaccines, including research and distribution, and $15.5 billion for National Institutes of Health
  • Increased flexibility for states to use initial CARES Act funds, including an increased time window, but no explicit new funds
  • Liability protections to create a safe harbor for businesses, schools, health care providers and non-profits
  • Enhanced employee retention tax credit
  • Deductions for employer purchases of supplies, including testing items and personal protective equipment.
  • Increase in business meal deduction to 100%, from 50%
10:42 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Iraq surpasses 100,000 total cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Aqeel Najim in Baghdad and CNN’s Sharif Paget in Atlanta.

Workers in Baghdad, Iraq, put the body of a person said to have died from Covid-19 into a refrigerator truck to be transferred on July 11.
Workers in Baghdad, Iraq, put the body of a person said to have died from Covid-19 into a refrigerator truck to be transferred on July 11. Ameer Al Mohammedaw/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

The number of registered Covid-19 infections in Iraq surpassed 100,000 on Thursday, the country’s health ministry said.

At least 102,226 cases have been recorded since the start of the pandemic, according to the health ministry.

As of Thursday, the ministry reports that at least 4,122 people have died from coronavirus in Iraq.

According to data compiled by Iraq’s health ministry, Iraq began consistently recording more than 2,000 new cases a day since the last week of June.

9:57 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

City of Miami has issued 115 tickets for mask violations this week, mayor says    

From CNN's FMelissa Alonso

The City of Miami has issued 115 tickets for face mask violations this week, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said during a briefing Thursday morning. 

"We have written 115 tickets," Suarez said. The breakdown for tickets issues includes, "59 warnings, 41 $50 tickets, 15 $100 tickets and we have closed 15 businesses, 10 for 24 hours and five for 10 hours," Suarez added.

"We need to be more disciplined than ever," Suarez said. The mayor said he is not issuing a stay-at-home order for the city at this time. 

Some background: Suarez announced that the Florida city would increase its penalties for people not adhering to its mask mandate, raising the amount from $50 to $100 for first and second offenses.

The mayor told CNN this morning that 39 officers this week will be dedicated solely to mask enforcement. Funds collected from face mask violations will go to businesses impacted by the pandemic, he said.

9:53 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Covid-19 could be 2nd leading cause of death in Los Angeles

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

California surpassed New York with the most cases in the nation this week. With more than 420,000 cases, the state has seen a recent surge whereas New York's reported infections have slowed significantly. California reached another peak in new cases, reporting 12,807 positive tests in a day, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County health officials announced that the virus is on track to be the second leading cause of death in the county — with at least 3,400 fatalities in the first six months of the year.

That would mean the disease will claim more lives than Alzheimer's Disease and strokes, health officials said. Coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death, claimed 6,000 lives in the first six months of 2019.

The news comes after the county reported 2,232 hospitalized patients Monday, breaking its own record of daily hospitalizations at least four times in a week. There were 2,207 confirmed cases hospitalized Wednesday, 27% of whom are in the ICU, health officials said.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is on "high alert" after averaging 79 new cases every day this week and seeing a 23% increase in hospitalizations, Public Health Director Grant Colfax said Wednesday.

Those two numbers play key roles in helping officials determine whether to pause or roll back reopening, Colfax added.

Here's a look at the areas in California with the highest number of cases per 100,000 residents, according to Johns Hopkins University data:

9:49 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

US stocks open lower after rise in initial jobless claims

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks were slightly weaker at the opening bell on Thursday as investors grappled with an unexpected rise in initial jobless claims. It was the first increase in 16 weeks, with 1.4 million Americans filing for first-time benefits.

Meanwhile, earnings season is roaring on. Twitter and American Airlines reported before the bell and Intel’s results are due after the trading day.

Here's where things stood at opening:

  •  The Dow opened 0.2%, or 62 points, lower.
  • The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite also each fell 0.2%.

Hear more:

9:40 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

White House negotiators are at Mitch McConnell's office ahead of stimulus plan reveal

From CNN's Lauren Fox

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, left, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speak at the White House on May 8.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, left, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speak at the White House on May 8. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have arrived at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. 

Meadows wouldn’t divulge when exactly legislative text would be released today saying it was up to the leader. He also wouldn’t comment on how many outstanding issues there are. 

“Discussions are still ongoing. It’s always in making sure the legislative text matches the understanding,” he said. 

Mnuchin said once again that the payroll tax cut won’t be included, and that the President’s commitment right now is to get money out the door quickly. 

What this is about: Key senators and White House negotiators said yesterday that they had reached a deal on the key piece of a new GOP stimulus plan.

McConnell told members he plans to unveil the package today not as a single bill, but in pieces based on jurisdiction, GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri told reporters. That will mark the start of negotiations with House Democrats, who passed their own $3 trillion proposal in May and have been waiting for Senate Republicans and the White House to put down a marker of their own.

9:56 a.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Georgia passes 150,000 total confirmed Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 3,314 new cases yesterday, bringing the state total to at least 152,302 cases.

Georgia health officials also reported 81 new deaths, the second highest daily count recorded since the start of the pandemic. The total death toll for Georgia is now at least 3,335. 

There were 428 new Covid-19-related hospitalizations recorded on Wednesday. 

Hear more: