July 27 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, July 28, 2020
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3:39 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Tennessee is poised to see rapid spread of coronavirus, Birx says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas and Marisa Peryer

Deborah Birx speaks during a press briefing in Nashville on Monday.
Deborah Birx speaks during a press briefing in Nashville on Monday. WZTV

Tennessee is poised to see rapid and widespread growth of coronavirus unless the state acts quickly to turn things around, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Monday.

The spread being seen in Tennessee is more dangerous than the first outbreaks in March and April, Birx said at a news conference in Nashville after meeting with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.

“Tennessee stands at that very important moment in time, where their test positivity has just increased into to greater than 10%,” she said. “Is this very moment where we can change the trajectory of the epidemic, before it goes into full, what we call logarithmic spread, as we’ve seen across the South?” she asked.

Birx said she was visiting Tennessee, like she had visited Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, because of concerns about the spread of the virus. 

“What has really worried us is this particular wave of the Covid virus is very different than the wave that we experienced in March and April,” she said. It’s not just hitting cities this time, but also the suburbs and rural areas. And, as in other places seeing new bursts of infections, the spread is mostly among people under the age of 35. “Many of them were asymptomatic and spread the virus unknowingly to others,” she added.

Birx said she also spoke with Lee about how important it is for all rural Tennesseans to wear a mask.

“We've talked to the governor about the importance of mask mandates. I think he has a sound strategy that he's working through the state,” she said.

Lee said he would hold firm against a statewide mask mandate. “I happen to believe that statewide mandates are not the best strategy, they're not the best approach, and they don't effectively bring about the wearing of masks as well as other strategies,” he said, adding that “there's nothing off the table.”

“I've also said we're not going to close the economy back down and we're not going to. But, I appreciate their recommendations and we will, we take them seriously,” Lee said.

Tennessee added 2,553 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, the state’s Department of Health said.

3:32 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Florida governor says parents should have a choice on sending kids back to school

From CNN’s Kay Jones

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine on Monday, July 27.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine on Monday, July 27. Wilfredo Lee/AP

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said today during a press conference with Vice President Mike Pence that parents should have a choice on what instruction is best for their children this fall.

DeSantis said that if a parent believes that distance learning is the best for their child right now, they should have a right to do that. He said he is proud of what they have done in the state of Florida in distance learning but at the same time, the kids have lost a lot of gains by not being in the classrooms.

“To shut out millions of kids, parents from even having a choice to bring them back, I think would be a mistake,” DeSantis said during the press conference.

He said that many parents in the state of Florida want to see their kids get back to school while a lot of teachers want to get back to the classrooms as well.

“I really believe that the teachers and the administrators that are there, they serve important functions in the lives of so many of our kids, particularly those who come from more disadvantaged backgrounds,” DeSantis said.

3:20 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

California attorney general investigates Amazon over worker safety complaints during pandemic

From CNN’s Brian Fung

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is investigating Amazon amid complaints about the company's handling of worker safety during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a state judge. 

In addition to Becerra’s office, the state’s Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal/OSHA) and state public health officials are also conducting their own investigations, wrote San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman in a court filing Monday.

Schulman’s filing comes a week after Becerra’s office acknowledged in a letter to the court that it had reached out to Amazon in May requesting information about how it is protecting California workers from Covid-19. 

Becerra’s office declined to comment. Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ordinarily the attorney general’s office does not “publicly disclose or comment on ongoing investigations,” the letter from Becerra’s office read. But, it continued, Amazon itself disclosed the existence of the probe in its response to a lawsuit brought by a grocery picker at an AmazonFresh fulfillment center in San Francisco. Schulman is the presiding judge in the case.

CNN’s Jon Passantino contributed to this report 

3:17 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

MAAC cancels fall sports season citing the Covid-19 pandemic

From CNN's Jabari Jackson

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will cancel all fall sports competition due to health and safety concerns surrounding coronavirus. 

In a statement released on Monday, the MAAC commissioner Rich Ensor stated, “The fall sports impacted by the Council’s decision include men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s cross country and sports that conduct non-traditional season segments in the fall.” Football is not a commissioned sport in the conference. 

“It is the goal of the MAAC to ensure it recognizes a MAAC champion in each sport and it will review possible championship formats for the fall sports in accordance with evolving state and local regulations," Ensor added.

All athletic-related activities and training for student-athletes will be in accordance with school’s procedures and state health regulations. A decision on fall sports being played in the spring will be made at a later date. 

Current conference members include Canisius College, Fairfield University, Iona College, Manhattan College, Marist College, Monmouth University, Niagara University, Quinnipiac University, Rider University, Saint Peter’s University, and Siena College. 

3:17 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 650,000

From CNN’s Jane Lee

People carry the coffin of a coronavirus victim at a funeral home in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 26.
People carry the coffin of a coronavirus victim at a funeral home in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 26. Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images

The number of people reported to have died from Covid-19 around the world has surpassed 650,000 on Monday.

As of 3 p.m. ET Monday, the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center recorded the global death toll as 650,097. 

There are now 16,330,977 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide. The US has reported more than 4.2 million cases alone.

3:06 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

Long Beach mayor's mother dies from complications of coronavirus

From CNN's Stella Chan

Long Beach, California, Mayor Robert Garcia is mourning the death of his mother due to complications of Covid-19, according to a statement from his office.

Garcia’s mother, Gaby O’Donnell, 61, died at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. Her husband, Greg O’Donnell, is on a ventilator there.

“It is with deep sadness that I share that my mother, Gaby O’Donnell, has passed away due to complications from COVID-19. My brother and I are heartbroken. Our mother was the kindest and most compassionate person we’ve ever known. She immigrated from Peru to the United States in search of the American Dream—and she found it. She became a healthcare worker, caring for thousands of patients over her career and assisting nurses and doctors who she loved dearly. She loved to help people and lived a happy and joyous life. She will always be our guiding light and the center of our lives. My brother and I want to thank the incredible team at Long Beach Memorial for taking care of our mom during her last days. They are heroes and we are forever grateful. My stepfather, Greg O’Donnell, is still in the hospital and on a ventilator. We pray and hope for a full recovery,” the mayor said in a statement.

The city of Long Beach, which has its own health department, reported 7,479 cases and 163 deaths.

2:42 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

More than 1,200 new Covid-19 cases reported in South Carolina

From CNN's Natasha Chen 

At least 1,226 new cases of Covid-19 and 17 new deaths were reported Monday in South Carolina, according to the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Of the tests reported to the department yesterday, 14.6% of them were positive.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 82,071 and confirmed deaths to 1,452.

2:50 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

The Minnesota Vikings' infection control officer has tested positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Aaron M. Sprecher via AP
Aaron M. Sprecher via AP

A day before all NFL players are expected to report to training camp, the Minnesota Vikings have announced that Eric Sugarman — who serves as the team’s head athletic trainer, vice president of sports medicine, and infection control officer — tested positive for Covid-19. 

Sugarman, along with members of his family who also tested positive, are experiencing mild symptoms and are self-quarantining. 

The Vikings say the team is following its protocol for sanitizing the facilities and notifying any personnel who may have been in close contact with Sugarman. Those individuals have been tested and will return under established guidelines. Sugarman had not had any recent contact with players, and no additional Covid-19 cases have been identified among team personnel at this time.

In a statement, Sugarman wrote, “As I sit here in quarantine, it is clear this virus does not discriminate. It should continue to be taken seriously. I encourage people to take the necessary precautions and follow guidelines that have been established nationally and locally.”

2:37 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020

California adds more than 6,800 new cases of coronavirus and 29 deaths

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Physician assistant Calvin Tran collects a nasal swab sample at a coronavirus drive-thru testing site in Anaheim, California, on Thursday, July 16.
Physician assistant Calvin Tran collects a nasal swab sample at a coronavirus drive-thru testing site in Anaheim, California, on Thursday, July 16. Jae C. Hong/AP

California reported 6,891 new cases of coronavirus and 29 additional deaths on Monday, according to data from the state's Department of Public Health.

California now has 460,550 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the highest number of any state in the country. At least 8,445 people have died from the virus in the state.

The positivity rate over a two-week period stands at 7.5%. 

Note: These numbers were released by California 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.