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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2:11 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

At least 19 people got coronavirus after attending a local fair in Ohio, health officials say

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess and Carma Hassan

At least 19 people got Covid-19 after attending the Pickaway County Fair in Ohio, the county's public health agency said in a report.

Three more cases were reported in family members of those who attended the fair and were infected with the virus, Pickaway County Public Health District said.

The health district is also investigating a coronavirus death linked to the fair, the agency said in the report.

“For the Pickaway County Fair Board and people executing the fair planning and event, there was a lack of implementation on the precautions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This failure is shown in the number of concerns people had about having the fair during a global pandemic and it is also reflected in the data showing the spike of cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic," the report said.

Pickaway County Public Health said “food vendors … allowed condiment bottles to be set out for use by any attendee of the fair,” which allowed “for a significant amount of spread of COVID-19 disease from fair attendee to fair attendee.” Additionally, the report said staff and food vendors did not adhere to the mask wearing guidance. 

CNN reached out to the fair for comment, but has not heard back.

The fair ran from June 20 to June 27 in Circleville, Ohio.

2:20 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Costa Rica won't allow international tourists from the US yet

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza

People work outside an empty terminal Monday at the Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica.
People work outside an empty terminal Monday at the Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Arnoldo Robert/Getty Images

Costa Rica’s government has announced it will allow international travelers from the European Union, Canada and the UK starting on Aug. 1 — but not from the United States yet.  

Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado and Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura said that the decision means a gradual reopening of Juan Santamaría and Daniel Oduber International airports.

“This means few tourists will be coming per week but it is a good step in the right direction,” Segura explained. 

Asked about why flights from the United States are not included in the announcement, Segura admitted the US has traditionally been a very significant market for tourism in Costa Rica, representing between 45% and 50% of the visitors before the pandemic, but his government is being cautious. 

“At the moment we consider that the right decision is to reopen with limited routes and this analysis will continue in the next few weeks” Segura added.  

Much of the United States is seeing a surge in infections, and the rate of transmission is much higher than in most of Europe.

Segura explained that all international travelers will need to submit a digital health form upon arrival, show a Covid-19 test with negative results done within 48 hours of entering the country and submit a copy of their travel insurance, which includes coverage for Covid-19.

Alvarado said Costa Rica needs to reopen tourism because of the economic situation, "carefully and with caution but also with a promise to support the tourism sector."

What the pandemic is like in Costa Rica: Costa Rica has seen a sharp uptick in coronavirus cases in recent days, although the death toll remains low. On Thursday, it recorded 768 new Covid-19 cases, a record daily increase, bringing the total number of cases to at least 13,129, according to Health Minister Daniel Salas. The country’s death toll has reached 81.  

Earlier this week Dr. Ciro Ugarte, the director of Health Emergencies for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), warned that the situation in Costa Rica was changing after initially low figures for infections.

“We are seeing a second and rapid increase in cases in areas where there was a relaxation of social distancing. But there is also a perception that since they had few cases, they felt confident to relax measures” said Ugarte. 


1:52 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Covid-19 hospitalizations in Florida are up 83.5%

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Denise Royal

Covid-19 hospitalizations in Florida have increased 83.5% since July 4, according to data released to CNN by the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). 

On July 4, the state recorded 5,022 Covid-19 hospitalized patients, the data shows. Today, that number stands at 9,215. 

According to AHCA, the agency began collecting the data on July 4, but had only publicly released hospitalization data as of July 10. CNN obtained the data through an information request.

Remember: Florida’s hospitalization data only includes patients in which Covid-19 is the primary reason for admission and care, according to the AHCA. That means patients who are already at the hospital for other medical issues and have tested positive for coronavirus are excluded from the state total.

1:53 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

McDonald's and Chipotle will require customers to wear masks as Covid-19 cases surge

From CNN’s Danielle Wiener-Bronner

People wear face masks outside a McDonald's in Brooklyn, New York, in late June.
People wear face masks outside a McDonald's in Brooklyn, New York, in late June. Noam Galai/Getty Images

McDonald's and Chipotle announced they would soon require customers to wear masks or other face coverings as cases of Covid-19 surge across the United States. 

McDonald's announced Friday that starting August 1, customers who walk into its restaurants will have to wear face coverings.

Chipotle's mask requirement was effective Friday, and signage has been put up at restaurants to let people know about the policy, a spokesperson told CNN Business. 

The moves follow similar policies from major restaurant chains and retailers, including Starbucks, Panera, Walmart and Kroger. 

McDonald's said that about 80% of its restaurants are in areas that already require face coverings. But "it's important we protect the safety of all employees and customers," the company said in a statement.  

It's also anticipating that some customers might not like the new rule. 

"In those situations where a customer declines to wear a face covering, we'll put in place additional procedures to take care of them in a friendly, expedited way," McDonald's said, adding that that employees will be trained "to ensure they are prepared to address this new policy in a friendly and positive way."

Customers who enter a McDonald's location without a mask will be offered one by an employee. If they refuse to wear it, they'll be asked to stand at a designated spot, away from other customers, where they'll receive their orders. 

McDonald's also said Friday that it is continuing its pause on reopening dining rooms for another 30 days. 

1:56 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Fauci: We need to get as many people vaccinated against flu as possible this season

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

A man gets a flu shot at a health facility in Washington, DC, in January.
A man gets a flu shot at a health facility in Washington, DC, in January. Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

As many people as possible should get vaccinated for influenza this year, as Covid-19 will complicate flu season, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday.

"Certainly if we get anything that resembles a typical influenza season, there will be complications and confounding," Fauci told the Washington Post’s Robert Costa during a Post Live event.

Fauci continued: "If we have Covid in the fall and winter, which is likely we will... if you have two co-circulating respiratory diseases, it makes things more complicated. And for that reason, one of the things we can do is to make sure that we get as many people vaccinated for influenza as we possibly can. Because that would ultimately help to mitigate against at least one of those two potential recirculating respiratory diseases."

1:38 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

This Texas county orders in-person schooling to be delayed

From CNN’s Kay Jones

The health department in Harris Country, Texas, is issuing an order requiring all public and non-religious private schools in the county to remain closed to in-person instruction until at least Sept. 8, County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Friday.

She said that date may be too early, and the start of in-person instruction may be delayed further. Officials would need to get the virus under control before they can “responsibly bring our kids back to in-person schooling."

Hidalgo said that Harris County, not including Houston, has 552 new Covid-19 cases on Friday. She added that while they are seeing slight declines in hospitalizations, there are still huge increases in cases.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that allowing children to return to school next month would be difficult with the rising number of positive cases. Houston Independent School District is the state’s largest school system, with about 210,000 students, according to the latest information provided by the district.

Note: These numbers were released by Harris County 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.

1:30 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

CDC guidelines meant "to help facilitate the reopening of schools," not keep them closed, director says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies at a Senate subcommittee hearing earlier this month.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies at a Senate subcommittee hearing earlier this month. Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images

Guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on education and childcare during the coronavirus pandemic were put out with the intent to help schools reopen this fall, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said during a phone call with reporters on Friday. 

"Recently, we issued our overall guidelines for reopening schools and what this is a series of additional resource documents and consideration documents to really help put some more granular detail to how administrators and parents can begin to think about operating and putting those guidelines into a practice plan," Redfield said. 

The CDC director continued: "They’re all put out with the intent to help facilitate, as was mentioned earlier, the reopening of schools for face-to-face learning. They’re not really put out there to be a rationale to somehow keep schools closed. But again, we're prepared to work with each jurisdiction."

2:25 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

France and Germany will test travelers from high-risk countries upon arrival 

From Alexander Durie, Pierre Buet and Nadine Schmidt

Health workers wait for incoming travelers at the Charles de Gaulle Airport outside of Paris on Friday.
Health workers wait for incoming travelers at the Charles de Gaulle Airport outside of Paris on Friday. Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

France and Germany have announced that they will introduce coronavirus testing on arrival for passengers traveling from high-risk countries, including the United States, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for those who test positive.

Speaking during a visit to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on Friday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed a list of 16 “red” countries whose travelers will be subjected to "systematic" testing upon arrival. 

According to the prime minister’s office, the 16 countries include South Africa, Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, United States, India, Israel, Kuwait, Madagascar, Oman, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Serbia and Turkey.

While France's borders to these countries remain closed, as previously announced by the French government, the new testing policy will apply to French nationals who reside in "red" zone countries and are permitted to return to France or foreign nationals who have a “stable” residence in France.  

Travelers who test positive on arrival in France will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine "until their situation is back to normal," the prime minister added, telling reporters that the new policy is expected to be enforced in “the next few days.”

Germany also introduced a new voluntary testing policy for travelers arriving from high-risk countries, with those declining to take the test required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

''All people returning from high-risk countries to Germany are obliged to go into 14-day quarantine, and this quarantine can only be ended with a negative test result,” Berlin's Health Minister, Dilek Kalayci, told reporters. 

“We also decided that people returning from high-risk countries should be tested,” Kalayci continued. The cost of the tests will also be covered by the German authorities, the health minister said.

"The current infection figures show once again that we are still in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, and increasing travel increases the risk of more infections being brought back into Germany,” Kalyci added. 

1:10 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Covid-19 can be a prolonged illness, even for young adults, CDC report says 

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

Covid-19 can be a prolonged illness, even among young adults without underlying chronic medical conditions, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

Thirty-five percent of those surveyed by the agency said they still weren’t back to their usual good health even two to three weeks after testing positive for coronavirus.

The CDC had survey results from 292 people who had a positive test for Covid-19 and were treated as outpatients from April 15 until June 25. The interviews were done 14 to 21 days after people were originally tested. The results were reported in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Friday. 

Of those surveyed, 94% said they had at least one symptom when they went in for a Covid-19 test. People reported having a median number of seven of the 17 symptoms listed by the CDC. Fatigue was the most common complaint, followed by cough and a headache. 

For the people whose symptoms lingered, 43% said they had a cough, 35% said they felt tired, and 29% said they were short of breath. The median time they had been interviewed was 16 days from when they tested positive.

Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said they had returned to their usual state of health between five and 12 days after they had a positive Covid-19 test. 

Age seemed to play a role in whether someone still felt sick weeks after a positive test. More of the people in the 50-and-older demographic, 47%, said they still had symptoms weeks after their test. By comparison, for people ages 18 to 34, 26% said they still had symptoms. For people in the 35 to 49 age range, 32% said they still weren’t back to full health. 

The more chronic conditions someone had, the more likely it was that they still had lingering symptoms. But even 1 in 5 younger people ages 18 to 34 who had no chronic medical conditions said they had not fully recovered.  

The authors argue that public health leaders should remind people who may not take Covid-19 seriously that even younger, healthier adults who get a milder form of the disease can have symptoms for weeks.

People need to take precautions, the CDC said, and frequently wash their hands, wear a mask in public and keep physical distance from others to slow the spread of Covid-19.