The latest on the coronavirus pandemic

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Laura Smith-Spark, Ed Upright and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:10 a.m. ET, July 25, 2020
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2:35 a.m. ET, July 24, 2020

More than 68,000 new coronavirus cases in the US in 24 hours

From CNN's Alta Spells

The United States reported 68,663 new coronavirus infections and 1,114 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to Johns Hopkins University.

It is the third day in a row that there has been more than 1,000 Covid-19-related deaths in a 24-hour period in the US.

In total, there are at least 4,038,748 cases of coronavirus in the US. The confirmed death toll stands at 144,304 people.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

For regular updates, follow CNN’s map which refreshes every 15 mins: 

2:08 a.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Japan records highest daily infection rate since the beginning of the outbreak

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Japan recorded its highest daily coronavirus infection count on Thursday, according to the Ministry of Health, as the country battles a new wave of cases.

The Health Ministry reported 981 new Covid-19 infections and two deaths for the whole of Japan on Thursday.

The new cases come after several prefectures with large cities posted their highest daily coronavirus numbers on Thursday, including the capital Tokyo.

To date, the total number of domestic infections in Japan stands at 27,956.

3:00 a.m. ET, July 24, 2020

India reports 49,000 new coronavirus cases in past 24 hours

From journalist Manveena Suri in New Delhi

A health worker (center) collects a swab sample from a child (second from right),  to test for Covid-19 in Kolkata, on July 23.
A health worker (center) collects a swab sample from a child (second from right), to test for Covid-19 in Kolkata, on July 23. Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images

India reported 49,311 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours -- its highest daily increase, according to the country’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 

As of Friday morning local time, India had a total of 1,287,945 confirmed cases of Covid-19, at least 440,000 of which are active cases. 

India has the third highest number of coronavirus infections in the world, after the US and Brazil.

The country also recorded 740 deaths today, bringing the total number to 30,601. Over the past two days, India recorded just over 95,000 new cases.

The Indian Council of Medical Research says they have conducted more than 15.4 million tests across the country. 

1:21 a.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Here's the latest US coronavirus news making headlines today

The total number of reported coronavirus cases in the United States since the start of the pandemic has surpassed 4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University's latest tally.

Get caught up on the latest news on the pandemic:

  • CDC guidelines favor opening schools: New guidelines released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on education and childcare have come out in favor of opening schools, saying children don’t suffer much from coronavirus, are less likely than adults to spread it, and suffer from being out of school.
  • Stimulus plan in the works: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the delayed timeline for the release of the GOP stimulus plan in remarks on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, saying the it should be out "early next week."
  • Portion of GOP convention canceled: President Trump announced Thursday at a news briefing that there will not be Republican National Convention activities in Jacksonville, Florida, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Leading cause of death: Even though the CDC cannot start ranking leading causes of deaths until the end of the year in order to get a full year's worth of data, statisticians at the agency said that they expect Covid-19 will end up among the Top 10 leading causes of death in the nation in 2020.
  • Cases rise in California: On Thursday, at least 157 Covid-19-related deaths were being reported in California in the past 24 hours, marking a single-day high for number of coronavirus deaths in the state. These new deaths bring the state’s death toll to more than 8,000, according to data from California Department of Public Health.
  • Spike in cases may weaken economic recovery: 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.” 
3:05 a.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Mel Gibson was hospitalized for Covid-19 in spring 

Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images
Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

A representative for Mel Gibson said the actor and director was hospitalized for one week after testing positive for Covid-19 in April.

Gibson was hospitalized in the United States and treated with Remdesivir.

He has since tested negative and has recovered from the virus, according to his representative.

3:08 a.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Vote-by-mail option only way to protect people from Covid-19 at crowded polling stations, experts warn

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

A voter uses a mail-in ballot drop off box location in Newark, New Jersey on July 7.
A voter uses a mail-in ballot drop off box location in Newark, New Jersey on July 7. Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images

All Americans must have the option to vote by mail in the general election in November to protect against the coronavirus in crowded polling stations, a group of doctors, nurses and public health officials warned in a letter sent to Congressional leaders Thursday.

Every US state has a vote-by-mail or absentee ballot option, but about a third of states only allow it in certain circumstances.

That is unacceptable during a pandemic when people’s health, and possibly lives, are at risk from a potentially deadly virus, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health said in the letter.

It was addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and minority leader Chuck Schumer.

“At all levels of government, the 2020 elections must not force people to pit their health against their job as a citizen, which is to vote,” Mona Sarfaty, the director of the consortium, said in a statement.
“It is already clear that fear of infection will keep some staff away from polling places, leading to longer waits and greater exposure. Individuals will face increased risk of contagion."

 Polling stations are often crowded with long lines that make social distancing difficult.

“We write to urge you to move rapidly and aggressively to ensure that every person in the US who is eligible to vote is able to do so without risking their health,” the group said in the letter.

11:58 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

96 employees at seafood processing plant test positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

Ninety-six employees at a seafood processing plant in Seward, Alaska have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

The company, OBI Seafoods, said most of the employees have not experienced any Covid-19 symptoms and none have been hospitalized, the press release said.

The infected employees were taken to Anchorage to isolate where they will be provided medical care, monitoring, security and housing.

Employees who tested negative will be placed under quarantine in Seward and will be monitored and tested every three days until no additional positive cases are identified.

The first case was discovered after a plant employee, who had sought medical care for a non-Covid 19 related issue, tested positive for the virus. The company then tested all 262 plant employees, implemented isolation protocols and began contact tracing. 

CNN has reached out to OBI Seafoods for comment.

4:14 a.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Australian Defense Force to assist with contact tracing in Victoria as 300 new cases are reported

From CNN's Sandi Sidhu

Premier Daniel Andrews wearing a mask arrives for a press conference in Melbourne, Australia  on July 24.
Premier Daniel Andrews wearing a mask arrives for a press conference in Melbourne, Australia on July 24. Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

A total of 300 new novel coronavirus cases have been detected in the southeastern Australian state of Victoria, the state's premier announced Friday.

Of the 300 cases, only 51 are from a known source with connections to previous cases. 

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters that health authorities had struggled to conduct contact tracing interviews with around 25% of people who had tested positive, as they were unable to contact them. 

To ensure that contact tracing interviews are conducted on the same day, twenty-eight teams from the Australian Defense Force will be dispatched to go from door-to-door with health officials, Andrews said.

Before the military support teams are sent to individual homes, Andrews said that authorities would attempt to telephone first. If the call goes unanswered then they will visit the home. 

Andrews warned that if the person was not at home when teams arrived, they could be subject to fines for breaching lockdown orders.

The military personnel who have been sent to Victoria State has been bolstered to 1400.

11:55 p.m. ET, July 23, 2020

Structural racism is a large driver of the disproportionate number of Covid-19 cases among Latinos

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Counties that are predominantly Latino account for a disproportionate number of Covid-19 cases in most regions of the United States, with the exception of the South, and structural racism is in part to blame, according to a new study.

In general, the Latino/Hispanic community has been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. While Latinos account for 18% of the US population, in June the community accounted for one in three of all confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US.

Latinos also had among the highest age-adjusted rates of Covid-19 related hospitalizations and in June made up one in five of all confirmed Covid-19 deaths. 

For the study published Thursday in the Annals of Epidemiology, researchers looked at data on Covid-19 cases in deaths at the county level. In the Northeast, majority Latino counties have more than 63% of coronavirus cases and more than 66% of the deaths. In the Midwest, these counties have more than 31% of the cases and more than 22% of the deaths. In the West it’s more than 75% of the cases and more than 73% of the deaths.  

These numbers are likely an undercount, the researchers said, because Latino communities, particularly in low-income areas, are less likely to have access to Covid-19 testing. 

“We found that crowded housing, air pollution, jobs in the meatpacking and poultry industry and other factors put Latinos at high risk of COVID-19 infections and death,” said a lead author of the study, Carlos Rodriguez-Diaz, an associate professor of prevention and community health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Rodriguez-Diaz hopes that public health leaders can use this work to inform decisions about which areas need to increase access to testing and access to language-appropriate education materials about Covid-19. The study also argues that all states need to expand Medicaid.