Georgia reports more than 4,200 new Covid-19 cases
From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 4,286 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, bringing the state total to 156,588.
The department also reported 25 new coronavirus-related deaths. The total Covid-19 death toll for Georgia is now 3,360.
There were 431 new Covid-19-related hospitalizations recorded on Thursday.
To note: These figures were released by the Georgia 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.
3:28 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
Coronavirus cases in France increase by 26% in a week, health ministry says
From Pierre Buet and Alex Durie in Paris
Coronavirus cases in France have increased by 26% in one week and 66% in three weeks, the country's health ministry said Thursday.
It comes after French Health Minister Olivier Véran said on Tuesday that "the virus circulation is increasing," yet the country is "very far" from a second wave.
Health authorities warned Wednesday that increased testing was "in part responsible for the increase in the number of cases."
France recorded 1,062 new cases on Thursday, according to the health ministry.
The ministry said there have been at least 179,398 Covid-19 cases recorded in the country since the start of the pandemic. It also said the death toll rose by 10 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 30,182.
3:27 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
New Jersey governor announces $6 million in assistance for small businesses
From CNN's Mirna Alsharif
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a $6 million lease emergency assistance grant program to assist small businesses with up to $10,000 in direct help to pay their rents.
The grants, a New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA) initiative, will help small businesses in 64 communities covered by the authority. The grants will be paid for through federal CARES act funding, Murphy said.
"We will not let Covid-19 take us down," Murphy said Thursday.
"We cannot get to where we need to be and where we know we will be without the women and men who own and operate the small businesses that make a municipality a community and turn a street into a gathering place for that community," he added.
Speaking at the news conference, Leslie Anderson, president and CEO of the NJRA, emphasized that this is a grant and not a loan, meaning businesses are not obligated to pay it back. Anderson also said that businesses cannot exceed 5,000 square feet in order to be eligible for the grant, a requirement the authority is enforcing in order to ensure only small businesses benefit from the grant.
Murphy also reported during the news conference that over the last four months, 1.4 million New Jersey residents have filed claims for unemployment, "including 26,000 over the prior week."
This is the second straight week the state has seen a "significant decline" in unemployment filings, said Murphy.
The latest numbers: There are 344 new Covid-19 cases and 23 deaths in the state, said Murphy. The positivity rate is 2.88%.
Note: These numbers were released by the county public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
3:47 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
China announces $1 billion loan to Latin America and the Caribbean for Covid-19 vaccine access
From Karol Suarez
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced a $1 billion loan to Latin America and the Caribbean for Covid-19 vaccine access during a virtual gathering with his Latin American counterparts on Wednesday, according to a statement released by the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“China’s Foreign Minister said that the vaccine developed in his country will be a public benefit of universal access, and that his country will designate a loan of 1 billion dollars to support access [to the vaccine] for the nations of the region,” the statement said.
During this daily briefing on Thursday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador thanked China after the loanannouncement.
"We're very grateful to China, with the Chinese government, the President – you remember I had the chance to speak to him on the phone – we asked him for support with medical equipment, there have been many aid flights coming from China," he said.
"There's always been enough equipment supply, medicines, and now there is this offer," he added.
3:17 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
São Paulo state tops 450,000 coronavirus cases and 20,000 deaths
From Marcia Reverdosa in São Paulo
The Brazilian state of São Paulo surpassed 450,000 coronavirus cases and 20,000 deaths on Thursday while authorities work to fix a technical issue with the registration of new cases.
Health authorities said São Paulo, Brazil's most populous state, has recorded 452,006 coronavirus cases and 20,894 deaths in the nearly five months since the start of the pandemic. The first case in Brazil was registered on Feb. 26, according to the health ministry.
São Paulo Disease Control Coordinator Paulo Menezes said the spike in new cases registered on Wednesday and Thursday was due to a "system instability" on the data input server. São Paulo registered 16,777 cases on Wednesday, its second highest number since start of the pandemic, and 12,561 on Thursday.
The highest daily figure in the state was 19,030, recorded on June 19.
"Between Thursday and Tuesday, the number of cases was reduced across the country," Menezes said. "The effects of this update can be felt until tomorrow."
The Ministry of Health confirmed the issue earlier to CNN but couldn't specify what states have been affected.
"Some states had difficulty inputting their data on the Covid-19 in the system during the weekend," the ministry said. "We emphasize that the ministry promptly assisted the states in solving the problem."
3:15 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
Quarantine mandates can send coronavirus patients into hiding, WHO says
From CNN’s Naomi Thomas
Coercive quarantine mandates can send coronavirus patients into hiding, defeating the purpose of having such a policy, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
Covid-19 case contacts are more likely to develop and potentially transmit the disease to others, and it is “much, much better if someone is ready, willing and able to quarantine themselves on behalf of their community,” WHO’s Dr. Mike Ryan said Thursday.
“Quarantining yourself when you are a contact is an act of courage. It’s an act of contribution to society,” Ryan said. “We’ve seen some pretty intense clusters of cases shut down pretty quickly when quarantine has been implemented successfully in contacts.”
However, he said, some governments have laws in place to make quarantine and isolation mandatory.
“We do clearly state the where such mandatory quarantine rules are in place, the state implementing that mandate must also respect the human rights of the individual,” Ryan said. “They must be in a position to provide an appropriate level of supporting care to that individual. That should not cost that individual in terms of extra out of pocket expenses for the purposes of staying in a hotel.”
WHO is against coercive procedures, Ryan said.
“It can shove the problem underground. And it can mean that people are unlikely to report their status in terms of either being a case, or being a contact, if they feel they will be unfairly treated,” he said.
This means that it is exceptionally important to make sure that there is strong community engagement, to help people understand how diseases spread and understand the roles they play in both transmitting and breaking the transmission chains of Covid-19, he said.
“In our experience, when people understand that fact, and they understand their own personal status, and when they’re supported in the process, most — the vast majority of people — will participate in the quarantine mechanism,” Ryan said. “And we would like to avoid coercive mechanisms to do that.”
Here's what WHO recommends: WHO’s recommendations say that contacts of confirmed cases of Covid-19 should be quarantined for 14 days in a facility or in the home if they have the ability to quarantine appropriately there.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, said that quarantine in the context of contact tracing is “arguably one of the most important elements to breaking chains of transmission.”
She also said that WHO will be updating guidelines for quarantining and isolation in the next week or so, although there will not be many changes.
The main differences include removing the testing requirement at the end of the quarantine period and including language that focuses on children in isolation and quarantining of children with family members so they aren’t separated.
3:06 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
New York City reports more than 23,000 confirmed and probable Covid-19 deaths
The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “Covid-19” or an equivalent.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 23,463.
Some context: There have been 219,489 coronavirus cases in New York City and 55,825 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.
The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated on today at 1 p.m. ET, according to the website. The numbers may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database, which is drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
3:14 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
Another prominent study finds hydroxychloroquine does not help Covid-19 patients
From CNN's Jacqueline Howard
More evidence is emerging to underscore that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine does not help Covid-19 patients.
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday found that the use of hydroxychloroquine – given either alone or in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin – did not improve the conditions of hospitalized patients with mild-to-moderate Covid-19.
The study, led by researchers in Brazil, included 504 patients with confirmed Covid-19 who either needed no supplemental oxygen, or were receiving up to 4 liters per minute of oxygen. The study was conducted across 55 hospitals in Brazil.
The patients were randomly assigned to receive either standard of care; hydroxychloroquine at a dose of 400mg twice daily; or hydroxychloroquine at a dose of 400mg twice daily, plus azithromycin at a dose of 500mg once daily for seven days, according to the study. The researchers then assessed how the patients were doing 15 days later.
The study noted that receiving either hydroxychloroquine alone or hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin did not appear to affect the condition of the patients at the 15-day mark.
Additionally, unusual heart rhythms and elevated liver-enzyme levels were more frequent in patients receiving hydroxychloroquine alone or with azithromycin, according to the study.
Overall, the researchers wrote that "among patients hospitalized with mild-to-moderate Covid-19, the use of hydroxychloroquine, alone or with azithromycin, did not improve clinical status at 15 days as compared with standard of care."
The study was funded by the Coalition Covid-19 Brazil and EMS Pharma, a pharmaceutical company in Brazil.
2:57 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020
GOP Senate Covid-19 stimulus text likely to be released Monday
From CNN's Ted Barrett and Phil Mattingly
The Republican stimulus text will likely be released on Monday, a GOP aide told CNN.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may take to the chamber floor later today to announce where things stand.
The White House and Senate GOP still haven't finalized how they'll structure their proposal to extend expiring jobless benefits, two sources involved in the talks told CNN. The dispute centers on the mechanics of how to implement the unemployment benefits.
Latest on stimulus negotiations: After days of back-and-forth on a stimulus proposal with the White House, Republicans and the administration reached what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called Thursday morning a "fundamental understanding," though many of the details are still being hammered out.
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.
And, a top Republican chairman is pushing back on Trump's claim that testing is "overrated," saying it's essential to get a hold of the virus.