July 29 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:40 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
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4:07 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

US surpasses 150,000 coronavirus deaths

From CNN's Brandon Miller

More than 150,000 people have died in the United States from coronavirus, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

There are at least 150,034 deaths and 4,396,030 cases across the country so far.  

The first death in the US was reported on February 29:

  • The country reached 50,000 deaths 54 days later on April 23.
  • The country crossed 100,000 death 34 days later on May 27.
  • It has taken 63 days to add another 50,000 to reach the 150,000 mark.
4:06 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

A vaccine that stops severe illness from Covid-19 would still be a success, expert says 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Although the ideal Covid-19 vaccine would completely prevent infection, a shot that reduces severe illness and mortality is still a success, Naor Bar-Zeev, deputy director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, said Wednesday.

“The best ideal candidate would be reducing infection and transmission in the community, and that would eventually result in herd protection,” he said, speaking at a Johns Hopkins briefing. “If we have a vaccine that reduces mortality and makes this whole pandemic a milder one, that’s also a success." 

Herd immunity, which is when enough of a population is immune to an infectious disease that the spread from person to person is unlikely, is not on the cards for the next few years, Bar-Zeev said, as the number of doses available of vaccine will be insufficient to produce it.

“What we want to do is reduce severe disease among the people at highest risk,” he said. “So a vaccine that does that but allows infection to carry on, you know causing a mild cold, fantastic, bring it on, that’s wonderful.”

He also pointed out that herd immunity would require more than just an effective vaccine. It also requires community participation and coverage.

“If 50% of Americans don’t want to be vaccinated, for example, because of hesitancy or safety concerns, then even a 100% effective vaccine won’t achieve herd immunity,” he said.

4:12 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

12 more New York City bars had liquor licenses suspended for Covid-19 violations, governor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23 in New York City.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23 in New York City. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

At least 12 additional New York City bars have had their liquor licenses suspended for “egregious violations” of Covid-19 regulations, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced Wednesday.

So far, 57 businesses have had licenses suspended for these violations, part of the state’s continued crackdown on businesses not enforcing coronavirus guidelines. 

The state police and the liquor board authority have done 1,131 compliance checks so far this week, and have cited 55 violations at establishments, which can carry a fine of up to $10,000 per violation.

4:11 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Coronavirus "requires sustained pressure to reduce transmission," WHO official says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

WHO Health Emergencies Program head Michael Ryan attends a press conference on July 3 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
WHO Health Emergencies Program head Michael Ryan attends a press conference on July 3 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Governments and individuals need to put "sustained pressure" on Covid-19 to reduce transmission and exposure, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, said on Wednesday.

Asked if countries are seeing a second wave of the virus, Ryan said during a Q&A on social media: "There has been this perception that this disease would behave a little bit like influenza, and it would have a natural peak and then it would disappear for a while, and then it would come back in the Northern Hemisphere in the autumn. I think we've always said that we didn't know that."

Ryan compared the behavior of the virus to a spring, explaining, "When we push the virus down, we suppress transmission. Release pressure, it bounces back up. Now you could call that a second peak, a second wave, you can call it what you like. What it means to me is this [virus] requires sustained pressure to reduce transmission, and it requires sustained commitment to reduce exposure."

"I would say that there is no second wave as such. What we're seeing is the virus naturally re-emerging when we take the pressure off," Ryan later added.

The WHO official called on governments to work on suppressing transmission through testing, contact tracing and quarantining, while communities and individuals "need to do everything they can to reduce their exposure to the virus." 

"In countries where we've seen well-managed efforts on the part of governments to suppress transmission. And where we've seen communities empowered to reduce their exposure, we see success," Ryan said.

4:08 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

First House Republican votes by proxy during the pandemic

From CNN's Haley Byrd

Rep. Francis Rooney conducts a television interview on October 18, 2019.
Rep. Francis Rooney conducts a television interview on October 18, 2019. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Francis Rooney, a retiring Florida Republican, became the first GOP House member to vote by proxy during the pandemic this afternoon.

Rep. Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat, cast Rooney’s vote on a procedural matter for him.

Some context: Republicans have attacked the proxy voting rules for months, saying members should have to be physically present to vote.

Rooney had previously indicated he could make use of the remote voting provisions when he designated Beyer as his proxy, but he has not actually cast a vote by proxy until now.

Beyer’s communications director wrote that there were “audible gasps in the chamber” when Beyer cast Rooney’s vote for him. 

The last time Rooney voted in the House was in February, according to his House website. 

4:00 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

8 Penn State student-athletes have tested positive for Covid-19 

From CNN's Dan Kamal

Penn State University has announced that eight student-athletes of the 466 tested as part of the school’s return to campus protocol have tested positive for Covid-19.

The tests were completed as of July 24, with 66 results still pending.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the broader community are of the utmost importance," the university said in a statement. "Therefore, as part of the protocols established in the return to campus plan by the Penn State Athletics medical staff and in consultation with University, local and national officials and guidelines, individuals with a positive test have been put into isolation for 14 days and will be retested at that point."

In addition to the isolation measures, university officials said contact tracing measures have been implemented, which include quarantine and testing for individuals who might have been exposed.

3:47 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

California reports 197 new Covid-19 deaths, a single-day record for the state

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

California is breaking a grim record, reporting 197 Covid-related deaths in a single day, according to the state's Department of Public Health. This report far outpaces the previous high of 159 from just last week. 

“Tragically, California surpassed another somber milestone today: 197 deaths. Our highest reported in a single day,” Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted. 

Also climbing in the state are daily cases. California added 8,755 new cases, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 475,305 cases. Today's marked increase in cases may be the result of a backlog in test results, as noted by Health Secretary Mark Ghaly Tuesday.

The positivity rate appears steady at 7.4% over the past 14 days. Nearly 100,000 tests were conducted yesterday and more than 7.5 million have been performed in California to date. Hospitalization rates also remain stable over the past several days.

Los Angeles County still holds the most coronavirus cases in the state, but as cases climb elsewhere, it currently makes up for only about 37% of all California cases, down from nearly 50% earlier in the pandemic.

That may be short-lived as Los Angeles County Public Health “anticipates receiving a backlog in cases in the coming days due to previous reporting delays in the State electronic lab system.”

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.

3:52 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

France reports more than 1,300 new Covid-19 cases

From Eva Tapiero and Lauren Kent

Healthcare workers prepare to administer coronavirus tests to people in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France, on Monday, July 27.
Healthcare workers prepare to administer coronavirus tests to people in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France, on Monday, July 27. Bob Edme/AP

France reported 1,392 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, representing the highest daily increase in cases in more than a month, according to the latest data from the French National Health Agency.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in France now stands at 185,196, according to the National Health Agency. There was also 15 more deaths related to Covid-19, bringing the death toll to 30,238.

The health agency data also said the number of coronavirus patients in the hospital is steadily decreasing.

Some context: The National Health Agency said Wednesday that the circulation of the virus is still increasing, and the coronavirus reproduction rate (R rate) in France is now above 1.3. 

“Aside from the slowly declining intensive care unit occupancy rate, indicators for the Covid-19 pandemic show an increase in the virus circulation,” the National Health Agency said in a statement.

"The health crisis is not over," French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said during a Wednesday news conference. “We have seen our neighbors toughening their measures. We will continue to adapt the rules in the days and weeks to come depending on the evolution of the epidemic."

Wearing face masks in indoor public spaces has been mandatory in France since July 20.

2:48 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

New York City has reported more than 23,000 probable and confirmed Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Rob Frehse

New York City has 18,887 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 4,625 probable coronavirus deaths as of July 29, according to the most recent data on the city website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “Covid-19” or an equivalent.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 23,512.

More details: There have been at least 221,220 coronavirus cases in the city and 56,099 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.

The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated on July 29 at 1 p.m. ET, according to the website.

Note: The numbers may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.