Oklahoma reports more than 1,400 new Covid-19 cases
From CNN’s Kay Jones
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 1,401 new Covid-19 cases and zero new deaths on Monday, bringing the state’s totals to 32,686 cases and 496 deaths.
This is the second highest total number of new cases reported by the state, according to numbers published by the agency. The state had reported 1,714 total new cases on July 21, which included a number of backlogged cases.
The public health agency said 25,252 people have recovered from the virus and 625 people are currently hospitalized.
Note: These numbers were released by the Oklahoma State 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.
4:23 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020
Trump wears mask while touring vaccine lab facility
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
President Trump is touring a Fujifilm vaccine lab facility in North Carolina and is wearing a mask, which are required at the facility.
As CNN has reported, Trump recently shifted to encouraging mask-wearing after months of refusing to be seen doing so in public during the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, Trump tweeted an image of himself wearing a face mask and indirectly called the act "patriotic."
The move to publicly wear a mask has been primarily motivated by floundering poll numbers, a source familiar with the President's thinking told CNN.
4:10 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020
US stocks finish higher on hopes of more stimulus
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
Wall Street ended the day higher, with all three major stock indexes climbing as investors cheered the next potential round of pandemic fiscal stimulus from Washington.
Here's where the market ended up:
The Dow ended 0.4%, or 116 points, higher.
The S&P 500 closed up 0.7%.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.7%.
All three indexes snapped a two-day losing streak.
4:11 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020
Trump says governors should be opening up states
From CNN's Kevin Liptak
Even as coronavirus cases increase across the country — and as members of his administration encourage some states to reverse their reopenings — President Trump said Monday that some governors need to loosen restrictions.
"I really do believe a lot of the governors should be opening up states that they’re not opening," Trump said, without specifying which states should be opening.
The message doesn't align with what members of the White House coronavirus task force have advised governors in states where cases are increasing. Health experts like Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx have said states with spiking case counts should close bars and indoor restaurants, among other restrictions.
Trump offered a more optimistic view, saying that rapid development of a vaccine and therapeutics to treat coronavirus would help spur an economic resurgence.
"I think the recovery’s been very strong," Trump said.
4:04 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020
Coronavirus cases surge in California's Central Valley with state's highest infection rate
From CNN’s Sarah Moon
Eight counties in California’s Central Valley, where the coronavirus positivity rate has surged up to 18% and caused a significant increase in hospitalizations, are seeing a disproportionate impact from Covid-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a news conference on Monday.
The Central Valley, home to the state’s vast agricultural region, is seeing the highest transmission rates in the state, according to California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.
The 14-day positivity rate in some counties has reached 18%, Ghaly said. This is more than 10% higher than the state’s positivity rate at 7.5%.
Newsom said a $52 million federal government grant will be dispersed to the eight counties to improve isolation protocols, testing protocols, and provide more support and personnel in the health care industry. The funds will help support and protect the essential workforce that work in large processing plants where community spread and the likelihood of Covid-19 transmission is relatively high.
New resources, including a strike team, will be deployed in all eight Central Valley counties. The teams will support efforts to unify engagement and mitigate the spread, Newsom said.
3:50 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020
Major League Baseball commissioner has not discussed canceling season with owners
From CNN's David Close
Following Monday’s postponement of two games due to Covid-19 threat, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred did not discuss canceling the season with the league’s team owners.
Manfred held a previously scheduled conference call with the 30 team owners on Monday that did not include the prospect of stopping the 60-game regular season, a source with knowledge of the call told CNN.
More on this: Eleven Marlins players and two coaches tested positive for the virus, ESPN reports. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said the team is staying in Philadelphia, where it just played a three-game series, pending the results of a new round of testing.
CNN's Wayne Sterling and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.
3:41 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020
Pence says "there'll be no short cuts" on possible Covid-19 vaccine
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
Vice President Mike Pence assured that any coronavirus vaccine that makes it to market will be safe — but he did not detail how the administration plans to convince the American public of that.
“There’ll be no short cuts,” Pence said about vaccine development in Florida on Monday. “There’ll be no cutting corners on safety in the development of this vaccine.”
He added that the Food and Drug Administration is applying the “highest standards to the development of this medicine.”
“As we go through the trials, as we see the results of this and other versions of the vaccine, the American people will see the carefulness with which we are approaching this,” Pence said.
Pence was asked during a news conference at the University of Miami about recent polls that suggest some Americans wouldn’t get a Covid-19 vaccine because they don’t trust it, and his answer did little to address how the administration plans to change that.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn went on to detail how the FDA is speeding up development of a vaccine without compromising safety.
“I think it’s important to understand that the reduction in time with respect to the development has a couple of different aspects to it,” Hahn said, explaining how the vaccine trials had been compressed. He also said that FDA is doing a “real time review. We’re not just waiting for the end of the trial, we’re reviewing in real time so that we can look at the data in real time and then come to a quicker decision at the end of the trial.”
Hahn said the FDA was also “maintaining regulatory independence” from President Trump's Operation Warp Speed.
“One thing I can promise you is the great scientists at FDA, incredible expertise they have, they will call the balls and strikes on this one and they will do it based upon our gold standard of efficacy and safety, and they will do it to the benefit of the American people,” Hahn said.
3:42 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020
Miami Beach mayor blames Florida governor for "unconstrained growth" of Covid-19
From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt
In a scathing letter to Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber called out DeSantis for the “unprepared” and “failed” contact tracing response to Covid-19 which led to the “unconstrained growth of the virus” in Miami-Dade County.
“A large part of the blame falls on an unprepared and understaffed contact tracing operation,” Gelber wrote.
“Florida’s contact tracing program in Miami-Dade County is unprepared to meet the challenges of this pandemic and I urge you to take immediate action to expand its capacity and improve its competencies,” Gelber continued. “When Miami-Dade emerged from our shelter in place in May, the State’s contact tracing program fully failed to cabin subsequent disease surges as we reopened our economy.”
Gelber pointed out that Miami-Dade County needed more than 800 trained contact tracers when the reopening plan began. Gelber said his understanding is that Miami-Dade had less than 200 in May.
A few weeks ago, Gelber added, he was advised that on a “successful” day Florida connected with 17% of people who had been infected.
Gelber’s letter included a chart showing the state’s efforts to contact trace. Gelber added that “case closed” does not mean the connections have been completed, instead these are newly infected people who were unwilling to cooperate or failed to return calls.
“Your DOH is successfully contact tracing an average of 18% of those infected per day and sometimes as low as 7% over this 14 day period,” Gelber wrote.
Gelber said local officials are being tasked with the decision-making while localities lack health department officials who can provide advice on the pandemic.
The mayor warned that if the infection levels continue at the current pace, he could see a return to sheltering in place.
CNN has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment.
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
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.