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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5:59 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

New Mexico records all-time high number of new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

New Mexico recorded an all-time high number of new Covid-19 cases today with 343, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced at a news conference today.

New Mexico currently has 167 people in the hospital and 34 people on ventilators with five new deaths, Lujan Grisham added. 

New Mexico has a total of 18,163 Covid-19 cases, 596 total deaths and 496,085 tests have been conducted statewide, she said. 

To note: These figures were released by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

5:54 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Trump asks Congress to give $105 billion to schools as part of the next relief bill

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump called on Congress to pass $105 billion for schools as part of the next coronavirus relief bill at a news conference on Thursday.

He said the money would be used to support measures like smaller class sizes, teachers aides, rearranging spaces for social distancing and masks.

But, if schools do not open, Trump said the money should "follow the student so the parents and families are in control of their own decisions."

"If schools do not reopen, the funding should go to parents to send their child to public, private, charter, religious or home school of their choice – the key word being choice," he said.

Trump said it's important for schools to reopen so parents can go back to work and individual families should be able to make decisions that are best from them, adding that reopening schools is not political.

"I hope local leaders put the full health and well-being of their students first and make the right decision for children, parents, teachers and not make political decisions. This isn't about politics," Trump said.


5:43 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

US surgeon general says Florida can reverse Covid-19 trends in a month

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Denise Royal


US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams believes Florida can turn things around in time to reopen schools in August, Adams told CNN. 

Earlier this week, Adams said transmission rates needed to go down before schools could reopen.  

CNN shared with Adams the latest data from the Florida Department of Health, showing that the positivity rate in the state has ranged from 13% to 18% in the past two weeks and that the 14-day average positivity rate in Miami-Dade County is 20%. The school year in Florida begins in August.

“I do think it’s possible in about a month,” Adams said. “We’ve seen places around the United States and around the world turn around very high case rates in just a few weeks.  The disease course is only two weeks. That’s how long it takes coronavirus to go through your system. That means we can break the cycle if we can do the right thing in just a couple of weeks. It will probably take a couple of cycles. But a month is enough time to for us to turn around these case rates."

"We just need everyone to do their part and not fixate on what’s going to happen a month from now and fixate on what we can do today to make school openings in a month a reality," he added.

During a live address Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis argued for the reopening of schools in part because children, he said, were at a lower risk and played the “smallest role in transmission” of the virus. 

CNN asked Adams about a South Korea study published this week by the CDC that concluded minors between the ages of 10 to 19 spread the virus at least as well as adults. Adams said the study is credible.

“It's important to know that for younger people, the virus is lower risk for complications than death. But low risk doesn't mean no risk,” Adams said.

5:40 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Trump cancels Jacksonville portion of GOP convention

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump announced today at a press briefing that there will not be Republican National Convention activities in Jacksonville, Florida, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The President said events in Charlotte, North Carolina, will still be held and he will still make an acceptance speech in a different form.

"We won't do a big crowded convention per se, it's just not the right time for that," Trump said.

Trump said he “looked at his team” and told them, “it’s time to cancel the Jacksonville component of the GOP convention.”

“The delegates are going to North Carolina, they’ll be doing the nomination,” Trump said. He added that telerallies would take place as well.


CNN's Nikki Carvajal contributed to this report.

5:27 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Texas reports more than 9,500 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Raja Razek

Texas reported at least 9,507 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in the state to approximately 361,125.

The state also reported at least 173 Covid-19-related deaths on Thursday. About 4,521 people have died across the state since the start of the pandemic.

Currently, there are at least 8,858 Covid-19 patients in Texas hospitals. 

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

5:26 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Antitrust restrictions waived for companies making coronavirus antibody treatments

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The US Department of Justice said Thursday it would waive its usual antitrust restrictions for companies trying to work together to speed antibody-based treatments for coronavirus.

It said it would not challenge proposed efforts by Eli Lilly and Company, AbCellera Biologics, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Genentech, and GlaxoSmithKline to share information, including about manufacturing facilities and raw materials, to make monoclonal antibodies to treat or prevent Covid-19.

“The demand for monoclonal antibodies targeting Covid-19 is likely to exceed what any one firm could produce on its own,” the DOJ said in a statement. “Moreover, waiting until regulators approve specific treatments before scaling up manufacturing might delay access to these potentially life-saving medicines by many months, which adversely could affect the nation’s efforts to fight Covid-19.”

More details on the science and law: Monoclonal antibodies are natural or lab-made immune system proteins that home in on and neutralize a single specific target on a virus, or a cell. They’re being made in this case to try to stop coronavirus from infecting cells in people’s bodies.

Antitrust restrictions are meant, in part, to stop companies from coming together to fix prices or to make agreements on carving up markets and forcing out competitors.

The DOJ said the biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies had agreed not to do this.

“Among other competitive safeguards, they have committed that they will not exchange information related to the prices of those treatments or the costs of inputs for or production of those treatments,” the DOJ said.


5:16 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Universities should do surveillance testing when students return in the fall, HHS official says

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health for the US Department of Health and Human Services, said Thursday that he has been in talks with universities and colleges to help them strategize how they should be testing students when they return to campus this fall. 

Giroir said that a lot depends on the rates of cases in the community and the specific demographics of the university, but generally, he has been urging universities to do surveillance testing.

Giroir emphasized this is not diagnostic testing, but surveillance testing that won’t burden the health system and could help universities track potential outbreaks and manage them early – before they become a bigger problem.

He said the labs on campus, even veterinary labs, could run these tests. The labs will not need an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration to do this.

He said these labs can also do pool testing, which will be returned quicker. With pool testing, if a group of tests turns up positive, the lab can then refer those five students into the diagnostic testing system.

“Nothing’s a perfect solution, but it does not burden the health care system,” Giroir said, “and it lets colleges keep control of how they want to do it.” 

5:31 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Louisiana hospitals pause elective surgeries as Covid-19 hospitalizations increase

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Louisiana Governor's office
Louisiana Governor's office

Hospitalizations are on the rise in all areas of Louisiana, with strains on capacity particularly in three regions: Lafayette, Lake Charles and Central Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a Thursday afternoon news conference.

Edwards said that some hospitals have had to put elective procedures on hold to create more capacity to treat Covid-19 patients.

Dr. Amanda Logue, chief medical officer of Lafayette General Health, said her hospital system has put elective procedures on hold to create more beds as they are "quickly running out of space."

The hospital system has had to decline 87% of transfer requests this month and has had to transfer some of their own patients as far away as Mississippi because they can't treat them, Logue said at the news conference.

They also don't have enough staffing to meet the capacity needs, as some have fallen ill, she added.

"Some of our beds are unfortunately closed because of illnesses to our staff. So we've had some nurses. We don't have enough nurses to staff all of our beds right now," Logue said.

Logue said the hospital will continue to treat all emergency patients but is unable to do elective procedures.

Dr. Henry Kaufman, chief medical officer for Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, said his hospital is also having issues with capacity due to staffing needs. 

"The problem isn't needing more space, it's having enough people to staff the beds and keep the nurses healthy," he said.

Kaufman said the intensive care unit at his hospital system is "near complete capacity." 

He said he is also concerned that the delaying of elective surgeries has already had impacts on the community, as mammograms, recommended bypasses, and other procedures have been put on hold.

"I am still dealing with the aftermath of people presenting with the later stages of disease during our first wave of Covid cases," Kaufman said. "I have women who have weren't able to get their mammogram during the first wave and finally were able to get it, and likely presented with a later stage of disease and they would have otherwise."

Some context: Louisiana crossed the 100,000 case mark Thursday when 2,408 new cases were reported. The state now has 101,650 Covid-19 cases. 

Roughly 91% of the new cases reported were community spread and 33% of the cases were identified in people age 29 and under, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. 

5:15 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Bars and nightclubs in Indianapolis to close through August 12

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

New temporary restrictions to mitigate the resurgence of Covid-19 in Indianapolis, Indiana, were announced today.

“Masks are still mandatory – doubly so after the governor’s order. Aside from the list of exceptions provided in today’s order, masks must be worn over the nose and mouth whenever we are around each other in public – indoors or outdoors,” Mayor Joe Hogsett tweeted Thursday.

The mayor announced that social gatherings, including wedding receptions, banquets, and club meetings, won’t be allowed to exceed 50 individuals. This doesn’t include indoor religious ceremonies, which can be held at up to 50% capacity. Outdoor ceremonies can continue without restriction, Hogsett said.  

The mayor has also ordered that bars and nightclubs that don't serve food, close until at least August 12, including bar seating at restaurants. While outdoor seating is preferred, restaurants can operate at 50% indoor dining capacity, but have to close for in-person dining between midnight and 5 a.m. 

Personal services like tattoo parlors, nail and hair salons, and spas can operate by appointment only, while gyms and other fitness centers will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity. 

“While we are not putting in place travel restrictions at this time, we recommend that those traveling to states or nations with heightened rates of infection should self-quarantine for 14 days upon return,” Hogsett added. “Finally, for tourism, cultural, entertainment, and sports venues, we are modifying our existing order to allow no more than 25% capacity, with continued adoption of CDC social distancing guidelines.”