The latest on the coronavirus pandemic

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10:01 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Mexico reports more than 7,500 new Covid-19 cases

From Karol Suarez and Taylor Barnes

A health department worker collects patient data from people waiting in line for Covid-19 testing, at a mobile diagnostic tent in Mexico City on July 24.
A health department worker collects patient data from people waiting in line for Covid-19 testing, at a mobile diagnostic tent in Mexico City on July 24. Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Mexico's health ministry announced 7,573 new Covid-19 infections on Friday, bringing the nationwide total to 378,285.

The ministry also reported 737 new deaths due to the virus, raising the country’s death toll to 42,645.

Despite the rising number of new cases, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated his claim Friday that the coronavirus pandemic is "losing steam" in the country and said the high number of cases are due to increased testing and a delay in updating the new cases.

“We need to find a balance between health and economic situation, reopening carefully, practicing all the protocols but we can't stay immobilized. If we open and there's an outbreak, we will close again,” Obrador said.

9:43 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

FDA authorizes first test for asymptomatic Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30.
Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30. Al Drago/Pool/Abaca/Sipa USA

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the first coronavirus test for asymptomatic Covid-19 cases and for those who don’t think they’re infected with the virus at all.

The agency reissued an emergency use authorization for a LabCorp Covid-19 RT-PCR test after the company provided scientific proof that the test was able to detect the virus in asymptomatic people. RT-PCR tests amplify genetic matter from the virus so it’s detectable.

The emergency use authorization also allows the test to be used on pooled samples.

“Today's authorization eliminates the need for a provider to consider risk factors such as exposure or community spread when prescribing this test,” the FDA said in a statement.

The test could be a game changer for hospitals, businesses, schools and others, the FDA said.

"FDA's authorization of the first diagnostic test to be used for anyone, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms of Covid-19 or have other exposure risk factors, is a step toward the type of broad screening that may help enable the reopening of schools and workplaces," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement Friday.

The FDA’s emergency use authorization for the LabCorp test also allows the company to test pooled samples of up to five individual swabs at a time to help test more samples using fewer testing supplies, which are in high demand and short supply in some areas.

"By authorizing another test for use with pooled samples, we also further help increase the possibility that patients may be able to receive results sooner, while also conserving vital testing supplies, which are under increased demand during the pandemic,” Hahn said.

The test is only available through a prescription, the FDA said, and is only authorized for sample collection with LabCorp’s test kits or by a health provider.

The test first received an emergency use authorization in mid-March for testing only on people suspected of having Covid-19 and was not authorized for pool testing.

9:10 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Mississippi governor announces more statewide restrictions following rise in Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Eileen McMenamin

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, left, listens as State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, discusses the state's efforts to reduce and limit transmission from the COVID-19 virus, Monday, July 20, during a press briefing in Jackson.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, left, listens as State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, discusses the state's efforts to reduce and limit transmission from the COVID-19 virus, Monday, July 20, during a press briefing in Jackson. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced additional statewide restrictions today on social gatherings, bars, restaurants and alcohol sales, citing an increase in Covid-19 cases that are currently stressing the state’s hospitals. 

“We have over 1,600 new cases today. And that number is simply not sustainable. It pushes us towards almost 6,000 new cases in the last four days alone,” the governor said at a news conference. “We have to do things a little bit differently. We have to be willing to make sacrifices as a state and as a people.”

Reeves added six counties to the existing list of 23 counties that must follow stricter measures, including mask mandates. 

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said there are currently nine major medical hospitals in Mississippi with no intensive care unit beds available and some patients have had to be flown to Georgia to receive medical care.

“If we look at how Mississippi stands in the nation, among US states, we're number nine in per capita cases in the last seven days. So, Mississippi is one of the leading states in the country as far as coronavirus goes, and in the Southeast, we’re led only by Louisiana and Florida," the governor said. 

The governor’s executive order requires social gatherings consist of no more than 10 people indoors and no more than 20 people outdoors, including at parties in people’s homes.  

“There's going to have to be additional sacrifices made by the people in Mississippi,” Reeves said. “None of those sacrifices are fun. I don't like it. You don't like it. We don't like it. But we are where we are.”

8:21 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

23 Long Beach Island lifeguards test positive for Covid-19, health director says

From CNN's Alec Snyder

Twenty-three lifeguards at beaches on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, tested positive for Covid-19 this week, according to the island’s health department. 

Eleven of them are from the borough of Harvey Cedars, while the other 12 are from the borough of Surf City, Long Beach Island Health Department Director Daniel Krupinski told CNN Friday.

“From what we gathered, it was from social life outside of work,” Krupinski said. “[Infections were] not related to interactions at work but outside of work.”

Krupinski said the cases and possible incident leading to them remains under investigation. The 23 positive cases have not impacted lifeguard operations to this point, he said.

7:43 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

NCAA president on fall championships: "We will continue our discussions in August"

From CNN's Jill Martin

NCAA president Mark Emmert on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in Washington.
NCAA president Mark Emmert on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in Washington. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

No major decisions were made Friday by the NCAA Board of Governors regarding the status of fall championships.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement they will continue to "thoughtfully and aggressively monitor health conditions around the country and the implementation of the COVID-19 guidelines we issued last week." The guidelines include daily self-health checks, face coverings and social distancing during training, competition and outside of athletics, and testing within 72 hours of competition. 

"The health and well-being of college athletes is the highest priority in deciding whether to proceed with our 22 NCAA championships beginning in late November," he said in the statement. 

"We all remain deeply concerned about the infection trend lines we see. It is clear that the format of our championships will have to change if they are to be conducted in a safe and fair manner. We discussed other complexities in addition to the health and safety impacts, to include team availability, travel limitations and various local and state restrictions. We will continue our discussions in August.”

 

7:31 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Bahamas prime minister warns of "grave health crisis" following a surge in Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Patrick Oppmann in Havana

Lounge chairs sit stacked on a beach while temporarily closed in Nassau, Bahamas, on Friday, April 24.
Lounge chairs sit stacked on a beach while temporarily closed in Nassau, Bahamas, on Friday, April 24. Melissa Alcena/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Following a warning of a “grave health crisis,” the Bahamian prime minister on Friday announced the country would go into an emergency weekend lockdown after a surge in Covid-19 cases since reopening on July 1. 

On Friday, the Bahamian Ministry of Health reported 42 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total so far to 316.

The country's Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that other than essential workers, all Bahamians would be required to remain in their homes through the weekend other than to buy food and seek medical aid.

All religious services, dining in restaurants and social gatherings will be canceled through the weekend, Minnis said, adding that the Bahamas will likely continue to institute lockdowns during the weekends moving forward.

Minnis also announced he was reversing an order that went into effect Wednesday that banned commercial air travel from the US to the Bahamas.

Instead, he said, the Bahamas would not block tourists from any country but visitors would be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and then test negative for the virus. 

Minnis urged Bahamians not to travel to coronavirus “hotspots” in “neighboring countries.”

7:30 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Former CDC chief says it's important to be honest with people about the risks of a vaccine

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden uses hand sanitizer during a hearing on May 6 in Washington.
Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden uses hand sanitizer during a hearing on May 6 in Washington. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The first concern with a vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection will be safety, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas Frieden said Friday.

“This is the first time we've had an anti-vaccine movement before we've had the vaccine,” Frieden said in a podcast sponsored by the online news site Axios.

That makes it important to be honest and open with people about the risks, he said. 

“There's already too much suspicion and hesitancy about vaccines, and the way to address that is to just say it like it is and be sure that we're saying what we're doing, when we're doing it, what we're learning, when we're learning it,” said Frieden, who is now the president of Resolve to Save Lives. 

One concern is a potential immune reaction to vaccination, he said. “Because some of the adverse outcomes from Covid are immune-regulated, and that raises the theoretical concern that something like the Kawasaki-like illness that you're seeing in rare instances of childhood illness could be a rare adverse event of vaccination,” he said.

Frieden said if a coronavirus vaccine is approved, he’d get one. “If there’s enough vaccine enough to provide for essential workers and particularly health care workers first and it's demonstrated to be safe and effective, I'd be delighted to get vaccinated,” Frieden said.

“There are a lot of hurdles to get over before we actually have a vaccine available, proven to be effective, demonstrated to be safe and widely used,” he added. “First and foremost is safety and efficacy,” he said. “Does it work, how well, for whom, for how long and is it safe?”

So far 25 vaccines are in human trials around the world and 141 more are in preclinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.

But a vaccine will not be the only solution to the pandemic. “I think what we have to get past is the idea that there is one thing that’s going to make Covid go away,” Frieden said.

7:14 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

Here are the latest coronavirus test results from the MLB

From CNN’s Jacob Lev

A mask is placed on the Teammates Statue on Ispwich Street on Opening Day at Fenway Park on July 24 in Boston.
A mask is placed on the Teammates Statue on Ispwich Street on Opening Day at Fenway Park on July 24 in Boston. Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association released today the latest testing results through the end of Thursday, in which six out of 10,939 samples came back positive.

Four of the positive tests were players and two were staff members.

Some context: The MLB and players association have reported a total of 99 positives tests — 84 were players and 15 were staffers — since intake screening began on June 27.

 

7:07 p.m. ET, July 24, 2020

NFL and players union say training camps will begin as scheduled

​​The National Football League clubs and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have approved an agreement that that will allow training camps to begin as scheduled, commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

"We have worked collaboratively to develop a comprehensive set of protocols designed to minimize risk for fans, players, and club and league personnel," Goodell said. "These plans have been guided by the medical directors of the NFL and the NFLPA and have been reviewed and endorsed by independent medical and public health experts, including the CDC, and many state and local public health officials."

Goodell said the upcoming NFL season will "undoubtedly present new and additional challenges, but we are committed to playing a safe and complete 2020 season, culminating with the Super Bowl."