July 26 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Jenni Marsh, Zamira Rahim, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 2:50 a.m. ET, July 27, 2020
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12:22 p.m. ET, July 26, 2020

Pennsylvania reports 800 additional cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Pennsylvania reports 800 additional cases of Covid-19 across the state and four new deaths, a release from the state's Department of Health said. 

State health officials warned healthcare providers, in an alert, saying there was a “significant” increase of cases among 19 to 24-year-olds, the release said.

One thing to note: The numbers listed were released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

12:20 p.m. ET, July 26, 2020

Each community should make a determination on reopening schools, US health official says

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

There is not a uniform threshold when it comes to reopening schools, Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar said on Sunday. 

“We don’t believe that there are uniform thresholds for school reopenings,” he said on CBS Sunday, when asked why there wasn’t a benchmark on when schools should shut down.. 

The 5% threshold that is laid out by the administration that defines a hotspot refers to positive testing, he said. 

Azar described communities with 5% positive testing as yellow communities and 10% positive testing as red communities. 

“That’s an epidemiological early warning sign of potential spread of disease,” he said. “That’s not been defined as a threshold for reopening of any kind.” 

“Each community is going to have to make the determination about the circumstances for reopening, and what steps they take for reopening,” Azar said. “But the presumption should be that we get out kids back to school and figure out how to make that happen.” 
11:22 a.m. ET, July 26, 2020

Florida reports more than 9,200 new Covid-19 cases among residents

From CNN's Randi Kaye and Melissa Alonso

Florida has reported 9,259 new cases of Covid-19 among Floridians and 77 additional deaths on Sunday, according to Florida Department of Health (DOH).   

This marks the 23rd day this month that the state has reported more than 9,000 new cases in a single day, according to CNN's tally.    

The state's total cases of Floridians with coronavirus is 418,844, according to DOH. The statewide resident death toll is now 5,854, DOH added.

There are currently 8,868 people hospitalized in Florida with with Covid-19, down from above 9,000 for weeks now, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

To note: These figures were released by Florida's 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.

12:09 p.m. ET, July 26, 2020

Pelosi says Congress "can’t go home" until coronavirus stimulus deal reached

From CNN's Sarah Westwood

from CBS
from CBS

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress should stay in session until a stimulus deal is reached. 

“We’ve been anxious to negotiate for two months and 10 days,” Pelosi said Sunday, criticizing the Republicans for taking so long to propose another stimulus package. 

“We can’t go home without it, but it’s so sad that people should have this uncertainty in their lives,” she said on CBS today.

Pelosi also said she would prefer to see enhanced unemployment benefits paid at a flat rate, not as a portion of a worker’s lost wages as Republicans are preparing to propose. 

“Let me just say: the reason we had $600 was its simplicity,” Pelosi said, noting that calculating 70% of someone’s lost earnings would be difficult for administrators. “Why don’t we just keep it simple? Unemployment benefits and the enhancement... is so essential right now.”

Pelosi declined to say whether Democrats would be willing to accept an unemployment insurance enhancement that is lower than the $600 number; that benefit officially expires on July 31, but Americans on unemployment insurance would have received their final check under the program this past week. 

More context: Republicans are finalizing a bill that would cap the enhanced unemployment benefit at 70% of a person’s lost wages. They do not plan to renew the existing $600-per-week enhancement.

10:53 a.m. ET, July 26, 2020

Miami Dade police have issued hundreds of citations for masks

From CNN's Randi Kaye and Melissa Alonso

Citations issued by Miami Dade Police (MDPD) to face mask violators and others has gone up, Det. Alvaro Zabaleta told CNN.

To date, MDPD officers have issued 150 citations to businesses and 174 citations to individuals, Zabaleta said.  

Some context: Miami Dade announced its Covid-19 mask ordinance on July 16, which included $100 fines for individuals and $500 fines for businesses, CNN reported. 

The fine is given to those who do not follow the face mask mandate in both indoor and outdoor public spaces, Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has said.

10:48 a.m. ET, July 26, 2020

The US has enough tests to achieve testing goals, White House coronavirus task force member says 

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Admiral Brett Giroir, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, said on Sunday that the US has enough tests to complete testing goals, if they are used in the right way. 

“We want to improve our testing, but we have enough tests right now, if we use them in the right way, to achieve the goals that we need to achieve,” Giroir told CNN.

“What is true now, is that anyone who needs a test can get a test,” he said. “I feel like going somewhere, so I need a test, that is not where we are.”

Giroir said that we are in the middle of a serious pandemic, which we are trying to, and starting to control, in hotspot states. Data shows that the percent positivity is being flattened or decreased and hospitalizations are going down, he said.

“But let me be clear, we need to prioritize testing,” Giroir said. “Everyone who needs a test, we’re prioritizing that and they will get it.” 

10:48 a.m. ET, July 26, 2020

White House official projects optimism about economic recovery

From CNN's Ali Main and Nicky Robertson

White House officials painted a rosy picture of the nation's economic recovery on Sunday as the administration continues to negotiate a new phase of coronavirus relief legislation with Senate Republicans and the US prepares to enter its sixth month of the pandemic. 

"I don't think the economy is going south. I think it's going north," White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNN.

Kudlow mentioned a slew of indicators of recovery, including booms in the housing, retail and auto markets and a rise in new business applications.

He claimed "the jobs picture remains strong," calling last week's rise in unemployment claims a "seasonal adjustment problem."

"I don't know the July number. We'll learn it in a week or so, but I do think that the odds favor a big increase in job creation and a big reduction in unemployment," Kudlow said.

More context: In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said “we always said the second quarter was going to be a very bad quarter.”

However, he said he still believes the third quarter will be much better, “we expect the third quarter, the consensus is 17% GDP, so we do think you are going to see a very big rebound.”

“There are parts of the economy that are doing very well, there are parts of the economy that aren’t,” Mnuchin said.

He also noted “we got to 30” million Americans unemployed, “but we never got to 40 or 60.” He said that since then the US has created almost 10 million jobs.

Kudlow acknowledged that in hot spot states like Texas, Arizona, Florida and California there will be  "some impact" on recovery, but he said he doesn't think it will be "huge."

The second quarter GDP numbers will be released this Thursday.

10:40 a.m. ET, July 26, 2020

The US government has invested in coronavirus contact tracing, health official says 

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

The federal government has sent money to states to support their contact tracing plans, Admiral Brett Giroir, a member of the White House’s coronavirus taskforce, told CNN Sunday. 

“They have plenty enough money to do that, as of last week, of the $10.25 billion, there’s only been $50 million drawn from that,” he said.

Giroir also said that he does not think that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needs to improve its guidelines on contact tracing, but that wearing masks is more important than contact tracing. 

10:36 a.m. ET, July 26, 2020

Sen. Lindsey Graham says half the Republicans will vote no on stimulus package 

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

As Republicans are gearing up to release their new coronavirus stimulus bill, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham had a stark prediction for the vote.

“Half the Republicans are going to vote no to any phase 4 package, that’s just a fact,” Graham said. 

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Graham said of the bill, “I think we will come together before August the 5th to get this done.”